When Trib Nation put out the call to people interested in violence and why it has festered in Chicago, we found immediate and strong interest.
Readers wanted to join the conversation. So did the heads of organizations, victim advocates, people who work in volunteering, an NFL football player who became a minister, a Holocaust survivor, people who make films, a woman who opened her doors to kids in a dangerous neighborhood, ad men, an award-winning poet.
In all, 36 guests came to the Tribune Tower to share their experiences and learn from what others had seen. Two dozen members of the staff of the Chicago Tribune, Hoy, The Mash and RedEye came to listen.
You'll find a link to photos here.
The guests included stage director Anthony Mosely; physician and playwrite Dr. Doriane Miller; Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates; and Bob Kornecki, Director of Individual Giving for the Midtown Educational Foundation.
Field Foundation of Illinois Executive Director Aurie Pennick also was there, as was the Rev. Anthony Morgan, an Associate Minister and former NFL Wide Receiver for the Chicago Bears. Other guests were Diane Latiker of Kids Off the Block; hip-hop poet J. Ivy; Fritzie Fritzshall, Executive Director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Daniel Rosenstein of the museum and education center.
At other tables were Jason Brett, who founded a creative community for young artists called mashplant.com; Jenne Myers of YMCA Chicago; Jennifer Nielsen, Associate Director of the ADL's World of Difference Institute; Jered Thorp, a Creator at GolinHarris; Patrick Lile, the Associate Outreach Coordinator for Kartemquin Films; Groupon Employee Volunteer Program Supervisor Jessica Schultz; and Patty Siebert, Deputy Director of the CPL Foundation.
We were also joined by Serena Low, Executive Director of Apna Ghar; Melissa Frazin, a Tribune reader and the JumpStart Site Manager at DePaul University; Chicago Foundation on Women President K. Sujata; YWCA Metro Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter; Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andy Zopp; Sunny Fischer, the Executive Director of the Driehaus Foundation; Nely Bergsma, Executive Director of the Penedo Charitable Organization; TrueStar Foundation Co-Founder Deanna McLeary and TrueStar Executive Director Na-Tae' Thompson; CEO Tom Vanden Berk and Clarissa Young, both of UCAN Chicago; Demoiselle2Femme CEO Sherida Morrison; John Harris of a5 inc; and Glen Brooks, the Executive Director of the National Gun Turn In Campaign.
Thoughts were shared for consideration: Communities don't fall apart because of bad people; they fall apart when everything closes. It's a form of giving up on a solution to be satisfied with the "gang-related" label. Violence begins in homes, and in relationships. People who are hurt, hurt people in return.
Another takeaway: So many people are working to help.
There are a lot of aspects to violence and how it affects us, and just as many ways to create an impact. In a room full of people who are curious about a problem in its many dimensions, good ideas are bound to come forward.
There was a lighter feeling in the room as people left. Not because a burden was lifted, but from the realization that many people are willing to shoulder it.
-- James Janega, Trib Nation manager
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