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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

May 12, 2000 Jeff Boynés (312) 413-8702; jboynes@uic.edu


The state of youth in Chicago and across the nation will be explored at a one-day community forum to take place May 18 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago Illini Union, Chicago rooms A and B, 828 S. Wolcott, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Entitled "Youth and the Challenge of Social Justice," the forum will bring together activists, educators, scholars, students and artists to examine the state of youth in light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human-rights treaty that protects the basic rights of children around the world. The UIC Center for Youth and Society hosts the forum.

Maxine Greene, professor emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University and author of the "Dialectic of Freedom," "Landscapes of Learning," and "Releasing the Imagination," will present a keynote address. Luis Rodriguez, poet, author and activist, whose works include "Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.," and "America is Her Name," will also give a keynote address.

In addition, Chicago-based poets and dramatists Tara Betts, Marlon Esguerra, Mars Gamba-Adisa, Tyehimba Jess and Dennis Kim, as well as the performance group Kuumba Lynx, will read and perform a series of special pieces recounting the challenges of youth.

The evening's event launches a yearlong series of community forums on youth. Drawing people together from a range of youth-oriented fields including education, law, politics, the arts, social welfare, health and recreation, the UIC Center for Youth and Society works to improve the lives of youth by providing a meeting place and personal support, according to William Ayers, founder and director of the center.

"Today's youth face special problems and also have special promise," said Ayers, UIC distinguished professor of education and co-editor of "City Kids/City Teachers" (The New Press). "Adolescence is a period of life that is in many ways neglected, but it is when kids need caring, thoughtful adults in their lives more profoundly than ever." Ayers added that he hopes the forums will eventually become "a site for scholars and youth workers to gather to share approaches in the interest of serving kids better."

Each forum will focus on themes inspired by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including protection from all forms of violence, freedom of thought and conscience, and full participation in cultural and artistic life.

The first community forum on the theme of a child's rights to literacy and education will feature invited speakers Jonathan Silin, Annette Henry, Mike Klonsky, Hal Adams and Bernardo Gallegos.

The second community forum will focus on a child's rights to freedom of expression and information, and will feature Maria Dalida Benfield, youth from Video Machete, Yolanda Rodriguez and youth from Radio WRTE of the Yoyocalli Youth Museum-Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Kerry James Marshall, and Elizabeth Alexander. Future community forums will be announced.

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

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