Use Your Words Workshop Feb. 12 Engages Teens in Arts, Media and Community Building


The Chicago Park District keeps youth active on Lincoln’s birthday, Wednesday, Feb. 12, with the sixth annual Use Your Words workshop hosted by the TRACE: Teens Re-Imagining Art, Community and Environment program from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Hamilton Park Cultural Center, 513 W. 72nd St.  Admission is free.

The workshops will feature performances, community dialogues on such issues as stop-and-frisk, and interactive art and media making.  There will also be discussions on social justice, community building and environmental leadership along with a keynote address.  

The keynote speaker for the event is poet Kendria “K Love” Harris, co-founder of LYRIC Squad, a youth mentoring platform for creative expression.  Presenters for the workshops include: Chicago Park District’s Wellness department, Chicago Freedom School, Congo Square Theater, Trey the Choklit Jok, and many others.  The event will be hosted by activist, poet and emcee TehRay “Phenom” Hale with performances from Austin Town Hall Park dancers, O’Hallaren Park’s Dance Ensemble, and Taylor Bennett.

Presenters for this year’s workshops will base their content on the guiding question, “What is justice?”  The question is aimed to spark dialogue and draw attention to youth agency and self-advocacy for issues affecting them and their communities as a whole, as well as opportunities for youth to support positive change.

Participants in the 2014 Use Your Words workshops will be provided lunch and service learning hours are also available.  Youth can register or get more information by calling 773-947-9603.

TRACE is a jobs-focused teen leadership program run by the Chicago Park District.  It cultivates young creative activists to advocate for and create change within their local and wider communities.  TRACERs do this by using art processes to engage in dialogue, bridge-building and problem-solving.  TRACE defines creative activism as a process that engages the public on an issue, employs the arts to bring people together, and uses the art event/moment as an opportunity for connection and further action.

Use Your Words began in 2009 as a day-long TRACE-sponsored workshop.  The goal of Use Your Words is to provide a safe space for youth and youth advocates to lead interactive workshops that address issues affecting the youth, community building efforts and environmental leadership.  Additionally, the workshop explores skill-building activities in the arts, media and performance in an effort to advocate, create and enact positive change.


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