Throughout the years that we have been giving our workshops and building up Black-Asian solidarity, we have been exploring what young BIPOC need to show up fully as leaders in our communities. Is it education on our histories that go untold in school? Is it space to share our stories about our lived experiences? Is it healing from the systemic trauma inflicted upon us as BIPOC? Is it community building to connect our issues?
We’re finding that the answer is all of the above. Young BIPOC need an intentional nurturing space to learn, heal, and connect. The power of counter-narratives is that they serve to connect systems of oppression to our experiences and bring to light what was silenced by harmful dominant narratives. When we as young BIPOC take hold of our counter-narratives, we have the power to heal and tell new stories that build, brick-by-brick, the future we dream of.
For nine months, we have been living through a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the lives of communities of color, those who are already systematically oppressed in our society. Simultaneously, we have been witnessing a national, and even global call to defund police and reallocate government funding to provide the resources our communities need to thrive. Systems of oppression have been laid bare for many who are coming of age during this tumultuous time.
That’s why in its first year, our Counter-Narrative Fellowship’s theme will be Reimagining Safety. When those who are sworn to protect us don’t keep us safe, who does? Fellows will be educated on policing and current movements to divest from policing in Chicago from those doing the work on-the-ground. Young BIPOC are this generation’s visionaries and need education and connection to lead us to a future where our communities can thrive.
When: Summer 2021
Who: 10-15 young BIPOC ages 14-20 in Chicago who are not already involved as activists in their communities
How: Primarily virtual fellowship based on CDC safety guidelines
- Teach-ins from InterAction and local social justice organizations
- Opportunities to write and share their counter-narratives
- Connections to each other and to organizations to stay organized
- Fellows will receive a stipend for their time