Friday, July 6, 2012

We Too Are Chicago! Celebrating Chicago's Youth

Daily local and national media cover the horrendous acts of violence happening in Chicago, Illinois. Attention is drawn constantly to the senseless murders in an effort to raise awareness of Chicago's problems.  Unforturnately in media's sensationalism of Chicago, all Chicago youth are cast in a very negative light.   Chicago is a city of contradictions. It is the home of both peace and violence, opportunity and decay.  Presently, our dominant image is that of the negative.   I believe it is time for artists to flip that script.  Our work should expose the greatness of people, especially our young.

July 9th - August 3rd, 2012 at HumanThreads Gallery (645 West 18th St, Chicago, IL 60616) the We Too Are Chicago! Exhibit intends to shine a spotlight on the hopes, dreams, potential, and achievement of young people often overlooked by mainstream media. Artists Ramona Dallum Lindsey and Trish Williams will offer their perspective on the issues surrounding our youth through their unique textile art. The exhibit will feature a host of commentary and abstract wall art inspired by poetry written by Mrs. Lindsey. 

Mrs. Lindsey and Ms. Williams use textile art techiques based in the African-American quilting tradition. Quilting is a historic textile art with deep roots which brought together communities. As quilters worked together they shared the stories of their community. We Too Are Chicago is a unique visual art experience aiming to get our community talking about Chicago's youth determined to achieve success regardless of their daily challenges.  Members of the community were invited to share photographs displaying the successes of young people in Chicago.  A handful of these images will accompany the textiles.  In addition, a young emerging artist from Kenwood Academy High School (Chicago,IL),  Gerald Brown, will offer a glimpse into the mind of this generation through 4 of her dynamic photographs.

The show opens July 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm with an opening reception in partnership with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Rev. Jesse L.Jackson, Sr., the famed civil rights leader, activitist, and minister will offer remarks touching on the present and future roles of music, hip-hop, art, and youth for social change.  The event serves as a Pre-Conference Reception for their 41st Annual "Rainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund" Conference, July 11 - 14, at Chicago Hilton & Towers.

For further information, please visit:

The Artist's Reception will be held July 13, 2012 from 6:00 - 10:00 pm during the Chicago Art Distict's 2nd Fridays Gallery Night.  We hope you will join us for this powerful celebration of Chicago's Youth.

We Too Are Chicago!
By Ramona Dallum Lindsey

Your Gold Coast is not our stomping ground
Oprah rarely visits our 'hood.
We're called Kendra, David, Hector, and Maria
We share the block with Phat Daddy and Lil' Mama
We're regulars on the Green, Red, and Pink Line,
Our train stops at neighborhoods like
Englewood, Auburn-Gresham, Pilsen, and Little Village
We too are Chicago

We stare from bedroom windows at boarded up homes
And wonder about Travis, forced from the 'hood,
Because his people couldn't pay
We pass the teddy bear shrine dashing to catch the train
And wonder during our 60 minute ride to the better school
Who will be the next to die.
We gaze out the train window at  homeys on the corner
And wonder how long Drop-outs will stand
Because no one cared enough to give them a chance.
We too are Chicago

Our parents work hard to give us the basics
It's  no to the fancy dance lessons, art camps, & theater shows
Most of us leave school with nothing to do
We head home to empty houses
Where we lock ourselves in
But some of us take the dangerous detour
Straight to the pushers, bangers, and hustlers
We too are Chicago

We are more than you see
You see hopeless,
We see dreams!

You see lazy,
We see potential!

You see waste,
We see opportunity!

You see depressed,
We see achievers!
We too are Chicago

Copyright 2011