We closed out June with a journalism roundtable at the Chicago Transformation Collab, joining Cara Reedy, Sarah Stillman, Keri Blakinger, Maya Schenwar, Josie Duffy Rice, and Jacqui Germain to discuss the role of writers and editors in interrogating carceral narratives, and pushing their readership towards abolition. It was a crucial conversation in a moment where a growing mass of people understand that it is the job of police to enforce the U.S.’ most violent laws—including abortion bans—and the job of critical media to take on the real risks of confronting those power structures.
This month we’re super excited to be partnering with a new program of American Friends Service Committee—founded by our dear friend and longtime comrade Debbie Southorn—WILD! A paid internship for youth organizers, the program will run the course of July, supporting a series of campaigns on the ground in Chicago, and educating participants on abolition, demilitarization, and grassroots resistance. We did some trainings to prep WILD’s youth facilitators last month, and will return this month to lead participants through Intro to Prison Abolition, Trans & Queer Resistance to Policing, and Linking Anti-Blackness with Anti-Immigration workshops. Nothing makes us more hopeful than new youth joining in the fight!
In addition to our work with WILD, we’ll continue our support of teaching artists at Young Chicago Authors, and will return for the fifth summer to speak to Northwestern University students in the Engage Chicago program about abolitionist organizing in the city. We’ll also participate in a two-day convening hosted by BlackRoots, generating next steps in the movement to defund police.
It’s July, and that means the first installment of the Black Performance Exchange is upon us! The name for the program that we’ve ultimately landed on is Navigating Blackness/Navegando lo Negro: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Black Diasporic Traditions. From the 20th to the 24th, Edrimael Delgado Reyes, Ivelisse Diaz, and ourselves will be posted up between the Urban Theater in Humboldt Park and the newly-christened DuSable Black History Museum in Hyde Park, offering workshops, jam sessions, and performances. Check out our the full list of events here, and follow La Escuelita Bombera de Corazón on Facebook and IG to tune in for live feeds.
We’ll see you next month in Puerto Rico!