Rethinking and Deconstructing Violence with Youth

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Resource: Peer Educator’s Manual For Ending Gender-Based Violence Among Youth

Don't Make Me Repeat Myself (PDF) is a facilitator’s guide to a workshop for youth peer trainers. This detailed guide concentrates on workshops around gender based violence within an anti-oppression framework. Created by Metrac (Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Woman and Children), the manual has a great basic agenda, complete with introductions, ice breakers and forming a safer space. It uses community dynamics and personal experiences within the group to introduce anti-oppression concepts, like how to be an ally. The workshop also covers:

What is violence

City politics

Interactive scenarios

Multiple activities



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Call for Submissions: Zines about the Attica Prison Uprising

This September is the 40th Anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion. In September 1971, the nation was transfixed as journalists and photographers documented the unfolding tragedy at Attica Prison. Americans followed the events on television and when Nelson Rockefeller ordered state troopers to retake control of the prison, he unleashed a massacre. At the end of the episode, 43 people were dead, including 32 prisoners and 11 hostages.

At the core of the rebellion were the prisoners’ 28 demands for changes in prison policy including better medical care, better food, and more educational programs. The prisoners offered a statement of their beliefs to the public which included these words:

“WE are MEN! We are not beasts and do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace has set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States.”

This September, Project NIA will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion by curating a photographic exhibit, organizing a reading, co-sponsoring a film screening and creating a primer on the uprising.

We will partner once again with Mess Hall to display the photographs from September 6th to the 8th. More information about dates and events will be forthcoming.

Here’s how you can help with this project:

1. Create a zine about the Attica Rebellion and send it to us so that we can make it available to community members this September. Send us your zine by e-mail at projectnia@hotmail.com or by snail mail to 1530 West Morse Ave, Chicago IL 60626. Deadline: August 15th 2011.

Some key questions that you might consider include (but are not limited to):

1. Why and How did the Attica Uprising Happen? This question lends itself to creating timelines etc…

2. Who Were The Key Characters in the Attica Story? Here you might submit short biographical sketches of key players in the uprising (both inside and outside the prison).

3. How Did The Media Cover the Incident At the Time? A content analysis of the way that the incident was covered would be great.

4. How was the incident covered by community-based organizations? If anyone has access to old newsletters or pamphlets from local groups who supported the prisoners, it would be great to write about how they covered the story.

5. Why or How is Attica relevant in the 21st century?

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Killing Season: A Conversation about Violence – April 9th 2011

Please join Project NIA and Building Communities, Ending Violence at Depaul University on Saturday, April 19th from 2 to 4:30 p.m. as we welcome Krista Wortendyke who will talk about her powerful photography project Killing Season: Chicago 2010.

After Krista’s presentation, participants will brainstorm ways that we can use this photography project in our organizing and educational work about violence. Specifically, we will leave with several ideas for concrete activities that we can use along with the photography project to spark dialogue and change around violence in our communities. Let us know you are coming by RSVPing at projectniaevents@hotmail.com.


Killing Season: A Photo Blog

As part of our “Something is Wrong” curriculum, Mariame developed a workshop about youth homicides in Chicago. We have heard from educators and organizers that this has been of use to them in discussing the issue of youth violence with students.

We recently discovered a moving photo blog called Killing Season: Chicago 2010. The purpose of the blog is described in the following way:

As of May 1st 2010, it was estimated that the same number of Americans were killed in Chicago as in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. In a time when Americans are focused on simultaneous wars in places that are beyond our immediate reach, I am interested in exposing the breadth of violence that occurs right here in the city of Chicago. It is common to hear someone say after a particularly devastating day for the city, “And it’s not even summer yet.” As the temperature rises so does the homicide rate. Beginning on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day, I will track the homicides in the city. Once the crime scenes are processed and the yellow tape is taken down, I will visit and photograph the location of each murder. The images will be descriptions of the places where these acts took place. Some of these places might fit neatly into stereotypes that we may have about where things like these happen, but I expect others will be more surprising to those who feel that their neighborhoods are safe. The images are individually meant to be reflections, meditations on our city and collectively, a call to action. Once completed, the images will be compiled in an editioned book. The sheer volume of images as they stack up over the season will be the primary voice of the project.

This blog can be used as an additional resource to discuss violence in our communities.

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Now Available: Giving Name to the Nameless

Project NIA is proud to announce the release of our new anti-violence curriculum resource “Giving Name to the Nameless.”

The use of literature and guided reading has been recognized as a viable option for helping young people address their concerns.  Poetry is a particularly wonderful way to address sensitive issues (like sexuality, violence, and self-esteem).  When young people (or adults for that matter) see something of themselves in a piece of literature (books, poetry), identify with the work, reflect on it, and undergo some emotional growth as a result of that reading experience, this can be considered a successful anti-violence intervention.

The new curriculum resource was developed by Mariame Kaba with contributions by Caitlin Ostrow-Seidler.  The guide includes over 30 poems that address gender-based violence as well as tips and suggestions for individuals who are interested in facilitating poetry circles with girls and young women.

This curriculum is part of Project NIA’s “Exploring the Roots of Violence” initiative that launched with the release of our Something is Wrong guide in February 2010.  Something is Wrong was developed in collaboration with Teachers for Social Justice and the Chicago Freedom School.

Other curriculum resources will be developed and released in 2011 as part of this initiative.  The goal of the “Exploring the Roots of Violence” initiative is to develop and disseminate free or low-cost tools and resources that educators and organizers can use to address violence in the lives of young people.

To receive a PDF copy of the guide (at no cost to you), please complete this FORM.

For those who are interested in a hard copy of the guide, please complete this  FORM and mail with your check ($12 per guide). The price covers our printing and mailing costs.

Finally, join Mariame for a workshop based on Giving Name to the Nameless.

When: Friday, November 12th 2010

Time: 9:30 to Noon

Location: Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network – 1 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1630

Space is limited to 25 participants.

Cost: $20 (includes a hard copy of the curriculum resource).  CEUs are available for an extra $5 for ICDVP, LSW, LCSW, LPC. LCPC.

Register by phone: Anabel Perez, 312-527-0730

For information about Giving Name, e-mail us at niapoetry@gmail.com. For more information about Project NIA, visit www.project-nia.org

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Love the Way You Lie: Toolkit for Discussing the Song with Youth

The talented writer and organizer Lewis Wallace has developed a terrific new resource for educators and others who are interested in engaging in a critical discussion about the song “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna.

The toolkit can be found at the Shmoop website. This is an invaluable resource and tool.  Props to Lewis for putting it together!