In 2017, Richard M. Daley Branch began hosting a monthly youth activist open mic.
Erica Gamble, the librarian who initiated this program, explained, "We talk about social justice and climate justice issues of our time. Kids read quotes, poems or just say their peace at the mic. Kids and teen volunteers gather together to read quotes by social justice leaders or about social justice action."
Erica added that the participants created signs with activist messages, like the one pictured here, stating "YOUR Ignorance is their pleasure. Educator Yourself." Erica added that she does not tell teens what to write or edit them, claiming "all of their messages are completely, organically their own." Following each event, both kids and teens are also supported by the community as they march through the branch library, in some cases, participating in their very first demonstration of solidarity.
This summer, Richard M. Daley has expanded its open mic program to implement a more robust weekly Artivism program series through grant funding made possible from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Teens get to explore art and fashion as a means for inspiring social change, as well as songs and chants. Be sure not to miss their final Artivism showcase event in August.
This mini-grant project is part of Elevate Your Voice. #ElevateYourVoice #CPLteens