The Obama Foundation and Chicago Public Schools honor civically engaged youth in Bronzeville

Youth from Team TACTICS at Wendell Philips High School in Bronzeville receive Youth Impact Award at first-ever Civic Action Recognition Awards hosted by The Obama Foundation and Chicago Public Schools. (Photo by Samantha Smylie)

Staff writer

HAROLD WASHINGTON LIBRARY — Team TACTICS (Teens And Cops Together in Chicago Successfully) at Wendell Philips Academy High School in Bronzeville won a Youth Impact Award at the first-ever Civic Action Recognition Awards ceremony hosted by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Obama Foundation.

Students, educators, schools, and local organizations were recognized during a ceremony on Wednesday, May 29, at the Winter Garden on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. In addition to the recognition, the students will receive a grant from the Obama Foundation to help support their project.

The event’s emcee was Chris Rudd, founder of ChiByDesign. Janice Jackson, CPS chief executive officer; David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation; and special guest and actress Keke Palmer all spoke at the ceremony. LaTanya D. McDade, CPS chief education officer, and Michael Strautmanis, chief engagement officer of the Obama Foundation, presented the awards.

“As part of our shared vision to empower the next generation of young leaders, this recognition honors the students, educators, schools and organizations who make a positive impact in their communities and beyond,” said Jackson. “In partnership with the Obama Foundation, we are building upon Chicago’s rich history of civic activism and further establishing Chicago Public Schools as a national leader in civic education and engagement.”

Strautmanis presented the Youth Impact Award to Team TACTICS during the second half of the award presentations. The organization was awarded for fostering stronger relationships between their community and law enforcement by developing workshops and a curriculum for their school. Recently, the group has expanded its program to address issues connected to school disciplinary practices. Even though the program is young — it started just two years ago —the students’ work has been recognized nationally at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2017.