Archive | May, 2013

Make This World A Better Place

17 May

P3_Logo_FINAL-B&W1LaShondra Jones , the mother of a ten year boy, shot while playing in front of his house while waiting for a pizza to be delivered, summed up what all of us have felt, if not said, “I hope the world gets better.”

This summer, Collaboraction Theatre http://www.collaboraction.org/#!home/mainPage will be at Austin Town Hall to perform the play “Crime Scene: Let Hope Rise.” The play, an update to “Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology”, explores the history of gun violence from 1780 to the present. According to an interview with writer and director Anthony Moseley in the Sun Times, the new version of the play is meant to both educate people who don’t know what is going on while demonstrating to people touched by gun violence that someone cares about their story. Moseley said “At its best, it’s really a catalyst for a conversation that we as a city need to have.”

Two photographers are also trying to bring visuals to the situations, offering images of the people affected by the on-going violence. Jon Lownestein has been chronicling Chicago’s South Side for the past ten years but he decided to focus on gun violence with a project called Chicago’s Bloody Year (http://noorimages.com/feature/chicagos-bloody-year/). The images range from memorials on street corners to cops on patrol to the people left behind to mourn family and friends killed in the ongoing violence. In an interview with Art Beat reporter Ray Suarez, Lowenstein talked about his desire to have his photographs reflect on both the greatness of the community as well as the heartbreak saying that he hoped we can make the world a little better.

 Carlos Ortiz, a Chicago native, has spent the last six years taking more than 20,000 photographs of the aftermath of gang violence with many of the images included in his project “Too Young to Die.” (http://tooyoungtodieproject.org/) Ortiz states that the purpose of his project is to move beyond the sensationalism and if it bleeds it leads headlines, in order to create understanding of the victims of violence, as well as the costs to all of us in Chicago.

So consider these three people as representative of so many others. It is not enough to check out their websites, listen to their interviews or read the few sentences online. The conversation needs to be bigger and we all need to take part; and the conversation needs to be about doing not just talking. So as warm weather approaches, consider what you can do to make your piece of the world a better place.