By AARON GETTINGER
The Obama Foundation is hosting a “Chicago Community Conversation,” a series of talks and presentations about the city’s history and civic life, today at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Several Foundation representatives and around 300 local grassroots leaders from across the city are scheduled to participate.
The morning session will include presentations on “why Chicago is the right place for community work right now” (by UIC School of Art and Art History Director Lisa Lee), public housing (moderated by Ben Austen, author of “High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing”), the blues (by harmonica player Billy Branch), structural violence and community health (by UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Robert Winn) and a retrospective on youth-led movements. Foundation head David Simas and UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis will speak at the event.
The closing session will include presentations on youth civic leadership, including a spotlight on the Obama Fellows, “the role of faith in civic life in Chicago,” the arts and “taking the specific narratives of Chicago (trauma, division, injustice) and inverting them to create spaces for creativity.”
The program will conclude with a performance by saxophonist Isaiah Collier.