Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Visual Arts

More Than Just Optics

The Englewood Arts Collective on making space for art in the neighborhood

Jason Schumer

The Englewood Arts Collective is a group of nine artists, working in diverse media, who came together earlier this year to influence public perceptions of Englewood and improve access to art within the neighborhood. I sat down with Collective members Tonika Johnson (a photographer), Janell Nelson (a graphic designer), and Joe Nelson (a muralist) to talk about the forming of the Collective and its plans for the future.

Activism | Interview Issue 2017 | Photo Essay

Chicago Youth Work to Increase the Peace

Photos from the last Increase the Peace campout of the summer

Children from the Back of Yards neighborhood take turns trying to hit a piñata as it rises and falls, pulled by a string controlled by Increase the Peace youth leaders. (Sebastián Hidalgo)

Weekly photographer Sebastián Hidalgo attended the last Increase the Peace campout—youth-led anti-violence demonstrations across the South Side—of the summer. On August 4, dozens gathered outside of St. Michael’s Church in Back of the Yards for games, music, and food to celebrate the community center’s reopening after over ten years.

Activism | Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews

From Summer Nights to the Long Haul

Resurrection Project campouts build youth leaders and community ties

Increase the peace youth leaders hold a private meeting recalling an incident with two local gang factions at the recently re-opened St. Michaels Community Center, Friday, August 4, 2017 (Sebastián Hidalgo)

Every few weeks this summer, a block in a South Side neighborhood was taken over by peace marches, workshops, free food, and an all-night campout. This is the Resurrection Project’s Increase the Peace campaign, a youth-led program that grew out of the tragic drive-by shooting of high school senior Naome Zuber in the fall of 2016. Naome was riding in the back seat of a car when a stray bullet ended her life. Her death galvanized her community; since then, other neighborhoods from Little Village to Englewood have come together as well, on these warm summer nights, to think about structural ways to stop gun violence long after the campouts end.

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Stage & Screen

A New Lens on Life

Reginald Rice on tracing a path through filmmaking

Bridget Vaughn

I was a dissenter. I retaliated against a lot of things, but more so I retaliated against the way people tried to color the world for me. I questioned, and I didn’t realize until I got older that I was always questioning why things have to be the way they are. I was deeply invested in my imagination, and cinema was that environment that sort of told me: you can create, these ideas can come out of you and unfold, and you can create the reality that you want through this particular medium.

Immigration | Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews

Seeking a Home, Without a Country

Long government processing times for asylum seekers have led to a housing crisis for a vulnerable group

Amina and her children (Daniel Rowell)

Asylum seekers occupy the uncertain ground between outsiders and refugees. Unlike refugees, who are pre-screened by the government and can access public assistance upon arrival, asylum seekers find their own route to the U.S.—sometimes illegally, sometimes by visa—and are ineligible to receive any government assistance while awaiting a decision on their cases.

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Philanthropy

An Ecosystem of Giving

Black philanthropists on the endless diversity and importance of giving

Jackie Copeland-Carson (Courtesy of Jackie Copeland-Carson)

August was Black Philanthropy Month: a campaign started in 2011 to connect the often “silo-ed” world of Black giving, as Jackie Copeland-Carson, the campaign’s founder, described it. Last month, South Side Weekly Radio broadcast interviews between reporter Bridget Vaughn and members of the Black philanthropic community. Every week offered a different viewpoint on giving back, including how corporations give back to the communities where they operate, how individuals give, and how groups of people collectively join forces to make a greater impact. Below are excerpts from those conversations. Listen to the full interviews here.

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Music

Out of Order

From child DJ to engineer to world tour artist, Jana Rush works backwards

Willis Glasspiegel

From the day she got her first ghettoblaster while growing up in Chatham, Jana Rush—aka JARu—has always been connected to Chicago music. Her ascent into the scene reads like folklore: at ten years, she called Kennedy-King’s WKKC 89.3 FM to schedule an audition. “Once they were done laughing,” Rush tells me, the DJs showed her the ropes, and juke icon Gant-Man took her under his wing. By 1996, Jana had put out a single and a split 12” with DJ Deeon on the legendary house label Dance Mania, where she was billed as “The Youngest Female DJ.”

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Media

In the Center of the Ring

CIRCUS Magazine founder Bianca Betancourt seeks “the trending and the undiscovered”

Lois Biggs

Bianca Betancourt, founder and editor-in-chief of CIRCUS Magazine, sits in the magazine’s 18th Street storefront. A neon CIRCUS logo casts her curls in electric blue light while Cherokee, her eight-year-old German Shepherd, greets passersby with howls.

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Media

An Alternative Voice

Ben Joravsky on journalism’s history and future

Sage Coffey

I feel that one of the great miracles in recent journalism, if I may, is that that swagger and freedom that the Reader represented when it was flush with cash has somehow survived to one degree or another through all these difficult financial times. It’s easy to be on top of the world, cocky and cool, when you’re rolling in the dough, but when you’re struggling…if you still maintain that sense of mission, it is really impressive.