The teens at CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center wrapped up the summer with a forum that reflected what they’re concerned about in their neighborhood: repairing community and police relationships.
The event was part of Chicago Ideas, a movement built on sharing ideas to transform the world. During the Chicago Ideas Day held at the Center on Aug. 17, 2018, space was provided for youth to be engaged in social awareness and to find their voice.
The teens worked for about eight weeks to develop a social awareness program that focused on police relationships and community unity, through a community conversation and an action event.
For the community conversation, the youth brought in Chicago Police Officer Reginald Murray to talk about repairing relationships between the police and the community. Community activist and mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green discussed community engagement and youth impact. All of the questions discussed were developed by the teens.
Center Director Clarence Hogan said the teens picked the topic of community unity and police relations because they are concerned about what is happening in their community.
“They can notice some serious injustices and some things that don’t seem to be going on in other communities,” he said. “I think that they can be culture shocked by traveling to different neighborhoods.”
After the stimulating conversation, the youth participated in an action event by collaborating with Play Streets. Play Streets is a collaborative initiative for healthier and stronger communities by creating safe and accessible residential play areas for kids to be active, to learn, and for neighbors to come together.
In October, the teens will be participating in Chicago Ideas Week, where they will listen to speakers talk about the justice system and attend hands-on labs.