"Confronting an injustice" in Chicagoland?
October 9, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

My class has been tasked with "confronting an injustice" within our community, and I'm looking past experiences and/or suggestions for action within my areas of interest. (more)

This is my first post, so: "Hello, Hive!"

The main project for my "Readings in Race, Class and Gender" course is to "attempt to impact/confront/change/relieve/ et cetra a cultural injustice in the world" and then write about it. A cultural injustice is being defined as "any form of discrimination, hypocrisy, or situation in which one community enjoys certain advantages over other communities..."

I'm attending school in Elmhurst (wiki), and can theoretically have access to Chicago as needed. I'd like todo something related to LGBT issues and/or youth in the city (I'm gay); or something related to autistic youth (I have AS).

Anybody have any suggestions? Questions, just ask...
posted by mkrenzer to Education (7 answers total)
Soooo... you could volunteer with an LGBT activist group and then write about it? Or attend a march this weekend?
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2009

Googling "chicago gay youth" led me to The Center of Halsted. It looks like there are a ton of volunteer opportunities there.
posted by pintapicasso at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2009

I think your volunteering energies would be much better spent working with an LGBT youth program closer to Elmhurst than downtown or the north side of Chicago. Chicago isn't perfect, but the city seems to have a lot of existing resources for the LGBT community. Having grown up in suburban Illinois, I don't think that the resources in the suburbs are as rich or well-supported. That's why I think you could have a bigger impact working where you are, rather than trekking into the city. Based on this Chicago-area resource page, it looks like PFLAG has chapters in northern IL (ctrl+f "Area Resources for GLBTQ"). They may be able to refer you to volunteer opportunities you'd find interesting in areas that could really use you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:06 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Check out oprah.com, click "world", click "help women around the world", click any of the headings under "For All Women Registry". Here you will find many causes that champion victims of discrimination and abuse because of race, class and gender and huge cultural injustice happening in the world right now. Maybe you could do fundraising for one of these causes? Check out what Lisa Shannon has done to raise funds and awareness for "Women for Women" as inspiration. I know this isn't related to the issues you had in mind, but if those don't work out I think you'll find plenty of possibilities in the above areas. It sounds like an excellent project to undertake, best of luck with it!
posted by albertagirl at 1:06 PM on October 9, 2009

This isn't really super related to what you want to do -- but making websites accessible to the blind is actually a pretty big issue. Lots of websites do a really bad job of this (in terms of having the site be readable by text-to-speech programs, including descriptions of images, etc.), including some government websites. And for many organizations it is a legal obligation (under ADA) for all information to be accessible. My limited understanding of autism makes me thing this may be an issue for some autistic people too, though I may be wrong about that.
posted by brainmouse at 1:11 PM on October 9, 2009

The project is not volunteer but to confront and try to make change. I would suggest looking locally.

1. Does your high school have an discriminatory policies towards GLBTQ youths? Who can be a "date" at a school dance? Physical gender vs. gender identity to qualify to run for homecoming king or queen.

2. This is more subtle but more important - what is quality of the program to assist special needs students in the main stream classroom. If a student has an IEP, Can he/she get a note taker? Submit essays in audio format?

3. What about raising student awareness about pejoritive slang (ie he is so gay or he is such a retard particularly when the topic has nothing to do sexual orientation or IQ) Maybe you could start an anti-biogtry club or at least an anti-biogtry day with posters and a rally or school meeting.
posted by metahawk at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2009

LGBT foster youth experience a pretty high level of injustice.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:54 PM on October 9, 2009

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