Karen Ziech and Derrick Dawson of CROAR (Jason Schumer)

This week on SSW Radio, we spoke with anti-racism organizers, self-described “nerdy” DIY art space coordinators, heard a brief South Side ghost story, and considered parallels between Black activism of the 1960s and today

Speaking with the Weekly’s Olivia Richardson, Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism (CROAR) organizers Derrick Dawson and Karen Ziech discussed their organization’s upcoming anti-racism conference. “One of the things we try to do is to develop a common understanding and a common language around race and racism, and what we’re actually talking about,” Dawson, who is Black, told Richardson.

Ziech, who is white, spoke about the need for white people to recognize both the differences between systemic racism and personal prejudices, and what they might be able to do to combat the former on a large scale. “Many [white people] want to believe we are good people, we are not racist,” Ziech said. “We are afraid of being accused of being racist—one of the ways of getting around that discomfort is just to not talk about it… it’s that understanding of the deeper issue, the structural systemic issue that has been with us since the time Columbus first stepped off of his ships. This is in our DNA, in our roots, our culture, our laws, and we’re not going to deal with this purely on a personal level.”

Later in the hour, SSW Radio producer Erisa Apantaku spoke with the coordinators of the Digital Art Demo Space (DADS), a Bridgeport DIY new media venue. When asked to describe the showings of DADS, one coordinator put it this way: “We generally go for things that are weird, things that are nerdy, things that we don’t think we would see anywhere else.”

Plus, this week’s Weekly Read—on the parallels between white responses to the Civil Rights Movement and the protests against racism of today (hint, they were very similar)—and a quick, special South Side ghost story, just in time for Halloween.

SSW Radio is the Weekly’s radio hour, featuring stories and interviews from the people of the South Side of Chicago. SSW Radio airs Tuesday afternoons from 3pm-4pm on WHPK 88.5 FM.

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