Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the country, and rarely do Latinos and African-Americans share the same space. Even in areas where neighborhoods are partially integrated, many factors—from gangs to language barriers and racism—conspire to keep the two groups apart.
In response, the Alianza's Young Organizer's Academy would expose primarily African-American and Latino youth who are at risk of joining gangs to the world of community organizing. Students would learn basic concepts of power, oppression, historical foundations for modern problems (e.g. slavery, colonialism, segregation, war, etc.). Via a project curriculum strongly centered on culturally appropriate content and methodology, students will also learn about economic and political systems, making use of dialogue and inter-active workshops reflecting the principles of Popular Education and of non-violence. By starting such outreach and programming at an early age, before habits are entrenched and friendship networks are solidified, the project intends to have an even greater impact on the community through development of a new generation of African-American and Latino leaders, those most affected by Chicago’s urban ills.