Archive for October, 2007
October 30th, 2007
More notes about internships from current students in the Fall 2007 Academic Semester.
I am working with the editor of the Hyde Park Herald on something resembling an independent research project. We have spent the first few weeks getting to understand the CHA’s plan to move residents out of and demolish various housing developments on the southside. We will also be conducting and transcribing interviews with community members going through the relocation process.
I chose this internship because it is a great mix of the subjects I am studying in college, sociology and ethnic studies, and I have been able to grapple with things like gentrification, segregation, and institutionalized racism as well as other race/class based housing issues.
I will be responsible for gathering and transcribing interviews and through regular discussions with the editor (Gabriel Piedmonte) will get to help decide what best to do with our database.
I’m an intern at the Ronald McDonald House in Lincoln Park (a neighborhood north of the Loop). I do anything from office work to projects on my own such as “sibling support.”
Sibling support is a program that basically reasures healthy siblings that they are not forgotten. Parents seem to put all the attention on the sick child and forget to acknowledge them. At the RMH house we provide stationaries to send letters home, phone cards and even a toy store in our basement. We understand that the families that stay at RMH dont have a lot to give but we do. We want them to feel at home and take full advantage of everything our house offers.
I think it’s the little things that makes RMH so special to so many families all over the world. I love when guests say RMH is their “home away from home.”
October 24th, 2007
Becky Stueve, Administrative & Special Projects Apprentice, shares her experience watching the academic students’ mural presentations:
“I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to sit in on the Fall 07 student mural presentations. Students group up and pick a Chicago mural to research as a method of learning field research in Chicago, before they pick their final individual topics. They study the mural and the neighborhood the mural is in.
Since I am a relatively new Apprentice to the Chicago Center, I was very excited to be able to hear what the students have been learning all semester and actually meet the students. Friday morning I walked to Scott Chesebro’s house, finding it only after knocking on the wrong door and a thousand apologies to the elderly gentleman who answered.
Seated and sipping my much-needed cup of coffee, I waited for the presentations to start. The students who were already there, and those arriving shortly after, were all of good spirits and ready for the promised breakfast and presentations to begin. Sadly, I was only able to stay for two presentations. But I thought all the students seemed well prepared and very focused. The groups I was able to learn from confirmed that thought.
Kevin and Ashley gave their presentation on a mural in Marquette Park. They called it Youth Liberation. Youth from the community did all of the work on the mural, and it was completed in less than 6 months. Some of the themes found in the mural were youth liberation, struggle against criminalization, jobs for youth, anti violence, age base discrimination, and immigration/racial profiling. One of the interesting facts about the neighborhood that this group helpfully pointed out was that it had the biggest baker in the world….that is enough to convince me to visit!
The second group consisted of Jen, Michelle and Meg. Their mural was located in Lawndale and was entitled I Dare To Dream. It was painted by Paul Thomas Monahan and featured African American heroes such as Michael Jordan, Ida Wells, and Martin Luther King, to name a few. The property is run by the library in that neighborhood and is fenced in the Storybook Garden. It also had pictures of The Wizard of Oz. The group talked about how because the mural is fenced in, it can hardly be seen from outside the garden. Sadly, this is due to vandalism in the neighborhood. Also, due to poor planning on the city of Chicago’s part, the mural will eventually be blocked in because of housing development.
As mentioned before, a scheduling conflict called me to leave the presentations early. From what I saw both during and in between the presentations, the students in the Fall ’07 semester are doing great things in Chicago!”
October 24th, 2007
Becky Stueve, Administrative & Special Projects Facilitator, describes her experience with Notre Dame’s LearnChicago! program:
This fine October Tuesday morning found me riding the bus to Division Street, along with the LearnChicago
! group from Notre
Dame. Despite being slightly nervous that I was leading them in the wrong direction (this is the first group I was leading as a new Apprentice), I was very excited for this trip in the Paseo Borico
community. Despite my nervousness, we made it to the Division Street Business Development Association where we met with Eduardo Arocho
, our tour guide for the day.
The first place Eduardo led us was the huge steel Puerto Rican flag that marked the beginning of Paseo Boriqua. The flag was dedicated on Jan 6, 1995. Eduardo talked about the symbolism in that date. Jan 6th is the Three Kings Day, and 1995 marked the centennial of the adoption of the Puerto Rican flag in 1895. Eduardo also pointed out the steel plates mounted on the light poles. These paid tribute to the three cultures that define the Puerto Rican culture: the Spanish, Taino, and West African.
From there, Eduardo led us west, down the street. He pointed out the apartment buildings that are going up, and the distinctly Spanish influence of the architecture. We also went into a bookstore, where we found Harry Potter….written entirely in Spanish!
Eduardo also pointed out the murals that are painted on the Division Street buildings. There was one called “The Sea of Flags.”
It was a sea of people proudly waving and carrying the Puerto Rican flag. This struck me because at one time, as I learned from Eduardo, it was illegal to carry the Puerto Rican flag. Another mural painted a beautiful picture of Puerto Rico, with blue skies, clear water, and graceful birds either resting in the water or soaring above.
As we walked along, neither I nor the students could help noticing the “No Vendo” signs in the almost every business. Eduardo pointed out several times that gentrification is a huge issue in this Puerto Rican neighborhood. The businesses of the community, which are 90% owned by Puerto Ricans, are committed educating visitors about Puerto Rican culture, history, dining and the contributions of Puerto Ricans to Chicago.
We ended our tour at Nellie’s, where we divulged in delicious entrees. To sum it up, it was a fabulous morning, spent with fabulous people, on a fabulous street.
October 22nd, 2007
Fall Semester students had the opportunity to meet and discuss life, current events and insights with R. Eugene Pincham. Judge Pincham is a human rights activist, lawyer, former judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois and is a strident critic of the criminal justice system.
Seminar Instructor Leesa Albert writes, “The reason I sought to secure Pincham is to give students a chance to meet someone whose name is writ large on the history of the City of Chicago. He’s truly living, breathing, walking history and he’s fought the good fight for justice in many ways for many years. Despite his incredible professional success, his demeanor remains humble.
“I was struck by the advice he shared with Chicago Seminar students: “use your life to help somebody else,” he implores. A champion for the city’s marginalized, Judge R. Eugene Pincham clearly teaches by example. Brilliant, elegant and eloquent, we all should be proud to call Judge Pincham fellow Chicagoan.”
More about Judge Pincham
He was born on June 28, 1925, in Chicago but grew up impoverished in Alabama. In 1948, he married his college sweetheart, Alzata C. Henry, and that same year enrolled in Northwestern University School of Law. Despite the fact that he had to wait tables at the Palmer House Hotel and shine shoes as a full-time student, Pincham earned a J.D. in 1951.
Throughout his distinguished career, Pincham gained a reputation as one who sought justice for the poor as well as the rich. Pincham resigned from the bench in 1989 and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. In 1991, he became the Harold Washington Party’s nominee for mayor of Chicago. Although he lost, Pincham carried nineteen of the city’s fifty wards – a powerful endorsement from the African American community.
October 9th, 2007
Below, two of our student teachers describe their experiences teaching in Chicago.
I’m student teaching at Jose Clemente Orozco Academy of Fine Arts and Sciences (affectionately referred to as Orozco). The school is located in Pilsen. Although I would love to have a few more minutes of sleep each day, I love the commute to Pilsen. I enjoy stepping foot in three very distinct and different parts of the city each time I make the commute. I have a class of 31 gifted and bilingual fourth graders, and they are all amazing! Other than my students, I have thoroughly enjoyed the many opportunities I have had to practice my Spanish with my students, their parents, and the other teachers in the school. Being a part of Chicago Public Schools has definitely been a culture shock; it’s very different here from anywhere else I have ever been. But I am constantly learning to embrace and work with the various different challenges of urban education! So far student teaching has been just as rewarding as it has been challenging!
Seventeen distinctive murals, designed by the faculty and students, reflect the cultural make-up of the community. These murals, formed out of nearly 2,000,000 colored cast glass mosaic tiles, incorporate scenes of contemporary American and Mexican culture, in addition to symbols of ancient Mexican history.
I am at Peabody Elementary School in a 2/3 split classroom. During a typical day, I help out my teacher with daily routines, and work back and forth between the 2nd and 3rd grades. It has been very hectic, but generally a very good experience! I am teaching a unit for Hispanic Heritage month right now, and the students seem to be really enjoying it.
October 9th, 2007
This fall our students have another amazing collection of internships; a couple of their comments are below.
Their sites include the Department of Children and Youth Services for the City of Chicago, the Hyde Park Herald, The Oriental Institute, Community Television Network, Third World Press, Northwestern Memorial Foundation, O-H Partners, North Park Conservatory, Stroger Hospital ER, Jane Adams Hull House Assoc/Alcott School Program, McCormick Tribune Company and Sunlight African Center.
“I am working at the Department of Children and Youth Services under Azim Ramelize. I chose this placement because of the opportunities I felt it would offer. Azim is currently planning a big event for October 6, Youth Justice and Empowerment. This is designed to help make kids aware that if they have a record, it can be expunged. Part of this event involves a photography exhibit done by 30 students. I will be allowed to work with photographer Eric Werner to finalize plans for the photos. I also liked the idea that I sit in on all meetings with Azim and through that, I will be able to network. One reason I decided to do the Chicago Center was because, realistically, I’m a senior and I want to work in Chicago after I graduate in May and I felt it would be the best way to get my name out. So far I am happy with my placement. I have been put in charge of coordinating the volunteers for October 6, as well as iron out last minute details for that event. ”
“My internship is through Hyde Park Herald doing interviews with residents in public housing and helping design the direction of this research project. I chose it because it applies both to sociological research and journalism.”
October 2nd, 2007
Larry Penner, former student who attended the Summer Session through Bethel College, writes to Chicago Center with updates on his life and reflections on his time with us in Chicago.
“Valerie, Best wishes with Chicago Center. The Urban Life Center was one of the best experiences of my college years–the only thing that could compare with it for broadening my horizons and worldview would be international studies. I was at the Hyde Park house for a summer and worked at In These Times as an editorial intern. After college I moved back to Chicago for voluntary service in Pilsen. These days I’m teaching high school English in Lancaster, PA. You’ve inherited a great program!