Events This Week: (There are a lot more than these . . .)

Some events this week:

Global Climate Convergence is moderating a national 10 day series of actions intended to connect the environmental movement of survival with the movements for economic survival.  For the entire calendar of events please check the following site:
Some of the Chicago highlights include:

  • April 22 Earth Day march assembles 4:30 PM at Thompson Center; march 5:15 PM
  • April 25 Critical Mass Bike Ride begins at Daley Plaza 5:30 PM
  • April 26 Environmental Justice March 10:30 AM at East 106th St & State Line Ave

April 23:  The Chicago Board of Education meets to review school turnarounds and charter schools.  125 S. Clark.  The Board meets at 10 AM but people begin gathering around 8 AM.

April 26 Workers United celebrates Earth Day with presentations by local labor leaders as well as music and other entertainment  Workers United Hall, 333 S Ashland. See:

April 25 and 26 the Guild Complex presents “Voices of Protest,” with a film screening and reading by two exiled Middle Eastern poets:  see

May Day celebrations include the annual gathering at Haymarket Square where this year a representative of French labor will dedicate a plaque to be affixed to the monument.

At 3 PM the annual May Day March for Immigrant Rights steps off from Haymarket Square, Desplaines and Randolph.  Destination is the ICE headquarters on Congress. See:

Earth Day to May Day! Presented by Workers United April 26

Global Climate Convergence:  Earth Day to May Day Celebration at Workers United Union Hall




May Day Celebration and March for Immigrants’ Rights: Stop Deportations!

125 years ago, the international workers’ movement declared our own holiday — May 1st. Workers the world over have been marching as one on this day, continuing the struggle for justice, the right to organize, the right to jobs for all at a living wage. The power of the May Day tradition is ever more important in this age of corporate globalization.

This year’s commemorative plaque will be placed on the Haymarket Memorial by the French General Confederation of Labor (CGT). After our ceremony, we’ll join the annual march for Immigration Justice.

The annual May Day immigrants’ rights march steps off from Haymarket Square May 1 at 3 PM.

May Day

The Guild Complex Presents Voices of Protest: Screening and Reading


This is an extraordinary event of tremendous consequence!



Glenwood Ave. Arts Fest, Occupy, and MORE! Events

This weekend, August 16, 17 and 18: Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest:GAAF2008_1sm

Lew Rosenbaum will be exhibiting (as usual) at the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest with a wide variety of books. Features this year include remaindered copies of the acclaimed autobiographical Black Radical by Nelson Peery; Heartfire, he recently issued dynamite second volume of poetry by the Revolutionary Poets Brigade; and selected works of fiction by Barbara Kingsolver, Jose Saramago, Jorge Amado and many others.  We’ll of course have copies of the Chicago Labor Trail Map that offers a self guided tour to places of interest in working class history. And we have limited numbers of copies of the important books on education in a time of austerity, written by Bill Watkins, Willie Baptist and Todd Price.

Diana Berek will also be displaying her art work in the adjoining booth, along with colleagues from the Greater Northside Artists Revolutionary collective (GNAR).  The tents will be located just south of Morse on Glenwood.

The Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) is a free, weekend-long arts festival that features 100+ artists, open studios, and live entertainment on three outdoor stages.  Experience art of all disciplines, music, theater, food and drink on the cobblestone streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Chicago’s historic Rogers Park neighborhood.

The 12th annual Fest will take place the weekend of August 16-18, 2013. Mark your calendars! Join us at the fest launch party, the Friday Night Cobblestone Jam, on Friday from 6pm to 10pm and the artists’ market on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from Noon to 9:00pm.

Wednesday, August 21:  Unfurling #8 with Dan Tucker at Spontaneous Interventions

Daniel Tucker will share some gems from the Never The Same archives, which document social, public and political art in Chicago. Unfurlings are show-n-tell events that Never The Same uses to highlight portions of their collections. In this instance, Tucker will share materials, selected specifically for Spontaneous Interventions, that show ways artists in Chicago have dealt with the politics of public space over the last 15 years.

Chicago Cultural Center  78 E Washington 5:30 to 7

For more information, visit and

Saturday August 24: Occupy Rogers Park Presents a Teach In: Understanding the History and Role of The State:

And no, we aren’t talking Illinois here.
Not really sure what people mean when they are talking about fascism? Curious about the historical emergence of governments? Not sure what governments are like outside of the United States? Join us for some opportunities to learn from one another! This is the first in a five part series.  We’ll be meeting August 24th, September 7th, September 21st, October 5th, and October 19th at the Rogers Park Public Library (in the conference room on the second floor) from 2:30-4:30pm. (The conference room is accessible)

ClickHandlerWith failures in our justice system, like the Zimmerman trial; with violations of our privacy, like the NSA and CIA collecting information from our emails and phone calls; and with abuse of police authority, like stop-and-frisk and targeting of activists, one has to step back and consider the true motivations of our government. This series is designed as a discussion forum to facilitate understanding of political ‘isms’ like socialsim, communism, fascism, and anarchism; to explore the history and origins of the state; to compare the nature of state power in the US to that of state power abroad; and to examine how our government impacts our daily lives.

Monday August 26: Political Repression, Here and Now

Michael Deutsch and Flint Taylor from the People’s Law Office and Dennis Cunningham, special guest and a founder of the People’s Law Office, will talk on surveillance, unjust imprisonment, criminalizing of environmental activists, indefinite detention, Guantanamo, voting rights, internet spying, drone killings and important human rights violations taking place, not yesterday, but here and now, in our own time, in the era of Obama.
What will be next?
What are you going to do about it?

Monday, August 26, 7 PM   Heartland Cafe  7000 N Glenwood

August 28:  Education Under Attack!! School Boycott

No more school closings, budget cuts and sabotage of our neighborhood schools! Join together with 25 other cities on August 28th! We want an elected school board! We want Arne Duncan to resign! We want real school improvement! Meet at 125 S. Clark at 10am on August 28. If you need to ride a bus, call (773) 548-7500. Public Education is Under Attack!

Nelson Peery: Celebrating 70 Years of Revolutionary Struggle

Nelson Peery, author of Black Radical, Black Fire and The Future is Up To Us, turns ninety this month.  Nelson is one of my mentors, a person who I first met some 43 years ago in East Los Angeles.  He had come to bring greetings from the workers of Watts, California to the workers in East Los Angeles, besieged by the police while protesting the Vietnam War.  His message of class unity across the class divide, and in particular the message of the strategic unity of Chicano and African-American workers, struck home even at that time  in my unsophisticated mind.

In the intervening years I’ve had the opportunity to work in various collectives in which Nelson’s insights were crucial, no insight more than the future really is up to us to create, not to wait for some great leader to give us the answers and to follow.  This is a time for new ideas that match the new conditions and new times in which we live, and all of us have a part in contributing to it.

It is in this spirit that I take great pleasure in helping to prepare for the celebration of Nelson Peery’s birthday, an important event in which editors of the newspapers that Nelson has helped to found and contribute to over the years will engage in a kind of “fireside chat” with him about his years in the movement and what that has meant.  Please join me on

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Celebrating 70 Years of Revolutionary Struggle

5PM to 8 PM

Workers United Hall

333 S Ashland Ave

for dinner, poetry, and conversation

presented by the League of Revolutionaries for a New America

Donation $10 — Tickets (or reservations) Available by e-mailing me at

Nelson90-ColorWeb final flyer

Who Is Stealing Our Education? Steven Serikaku and Byron Sigcho Deconstruct UNO

This is the second in an ongoing series, coming at a time when UNO charter schools financial shenanigans are finally being examined.

This is the second in an ongoing series, coming at a time when UNO charter schools financial shenanigans are finally being examined.

Just in the last few days the Chicago Sun-Times is finally exploring some issues pertaining to UNO charter schools.  Finally.  Not that much of this information hasn’t been available before.  It’s just that only those willing to dig for it have been able to find it.  Meanwhile, UNO has developed an empire of 13 charter schools while scooping nearly 100 million dollars from public coffers to build those same schools.  Their political connections to the Democratic Party machine flowered under the Daley administration and came to fruition when Juan Rangel, UNO CEO, was a campaign manager for Rahm Emanuel in his successful bid to become Chicago’s Mayor.

This teach in, the second in the “Who Is Stealing Our Education” series presented by Occupy Rogers Park, couldn’t come at a more significant moment, as school closings butt up against a plethora of charter openings;  as public money is used to deplete the neighborhood schools of needed resources.

Gil Scott Heron – Passages, Interludes, Subtext n’ Understandin’

Gil Scott Heron – Passages, Interludes, Subtext n’ Understandin’

Gil Scott Heron – Passages, Interludes, Subtext n’ Understandin’
Friday 06/08/2012 7:00 PM — 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
Phone: 877-394-5061
Venue: Experimental Station
Address: 6100 S. Blackstone (south on Dorchester, east on 61st – free street and university lot parking), Chicago, IL, United States

Join us for an evening of poetry, music and discussion of the legendary poet/musician/activist. Presented by the Guild’s “Applied Words” series, with support from the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture – University of Chicago, and the Friends of Blackstone Library.

Featured speakers and performers:

Carol Adams As one of the nation’s most esteemed educators, Dr. Adams helped to bring about the convergence of art and education in Chicago, particularly in its museums and public schools.  Former positions include Chairman of the African American Studies Department at Loyola University; Director, The Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University; and most recently the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Carol Adams has spent much of her career engaged in cultural arts research, analysis and production. Her unique perspective on art and its integral role in shaping and defining culture and community is informed by her parallel study of sociology and Africana history and culture. Among her many awards and honors is the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award in the Arts.

Maggie Brown is a tremendously talented singer and performer using her gift to not only entertain, but educate as well. Maggie is the daughter of the late Oscar Brown, Jr. a world renowned composer, social activist, and legendary giant on the Jazz music scene. Mr. Brown passed on his artistic integrity to his daughter who now uses her own voice to create images that excite and inspire. For 19 years, the songstress has nationally toured her one-woman show, “LEGACY: Our Wealth of Music” which follows the history and evolution of African American music and covers a wide range of musical forms. Miss Maggie’s vocal musicianship proudly heralds the LEGACY left by those who came before us. “Music is a powerful force. We need to use our music, which is our cultural expression, in a way that uplifts humanity, rather than simply for material gain,” said Brown. The singer, actress, and educator Maggie Brown is no stranger to jazz-vocal legends with unique styles of songwriting: she grew up with one in her father. In 1999 Brown worked with the late singer/composer Abbey Lincoln on her CD, “Wholly Earth”.

Krista Franklin is a poet, visual artist and performer from Dayton, OH who lives and works in Chicago. Her poetry and mixed medium collages have been published in lifestyle and literary journals such as Vinyl 5, The New Sound, Coon Bidness, Copper Nickel, RATTLE, Indiana Review, Ecotone, Clam and Callaloo, and in the anthologies Encyclopedia Vol. II, F-K and Gathering Ground. Her visual art has been featured on the covers of award-winning books, and exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions, and her chapbook Study of Love & Black Body was published in 2012 by Willow Books. Franklin is a Cave Canem Fellow, a co-founder of 2nd Sun Salon, a community meeting space for writers, visual and performance artists, musicians and scholars.

Travis Jackson is an ethnomusicologist whose work centers on jazz, rock and recording technology. His theoretical interests include urban geography, race/culture and identity, ethnographic method, performance and aesthetics. He is the author of the forthcoming Blowin’ the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene, as well as articles on topics ranging from the intersection of jazz and poetic performance to the interpretation of meaning in rock. His current work focuses on the affective attachment of musicians and listeners to recording labels.

Keith M. Kelley is a poet, spoken word artist, musician and audio artist. He has been performing professionally since 1991 with his spoken word band, Funky Wordsmyths and in his one-man “Electric Poetry” show that blends spoken word, rhythmic utterances, and live instruments with effects processing and live phrase sampling and looping. In addition to performing, Kelley has been conducting Poetry, Spoken Word, and Music workshops with youth and adults for 20 Years. Kelley is the Executive Director of the Spoken Word Academy of Chicago, a not-for-profit organization established to provide a comprehensive resource for learning, practicing, performing, and experiencing the spoken word art form.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of five poetry books, including They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004); a children’s book titled The Big World (Addison-Wesley, 1998); and editor of eight anthologies, including Dream of A Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2006). He is Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing from 2002-2011. He is a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School and former Associate Editor-Poetry for Black Issues Book Review. Quraysh earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the Creative Writing Program at New York University, where he was a Departmental Fellow. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. mystic turf, his third full-length book of poetry, will be released in November 2012 by Willow Books.

Mario , Chicago poet, educator, activist and radio personality,  hosts “News From the Service Entrance” on WHPK 88.5FM/ He has written essays for Chicago’s public radio affiliate WBEZ , appeared on Voice of America, provided Election Night 2008 analysis for BBC Devon, and has performed his poetry at DePaul University, University of Chicago, Traffic Series at Steppenwolf Theater (Inaugural Season), MCA, United Nations Dialogue Among Civilizations, Old Town School of Folk Music, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Cultural Center.

Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor of In These Times, where he has worked since 1983. He is the host of “The Salim Muwakkil” show on WVON, Chicago’s historic black radio station, and he wrote the text for the book HAROLD: Photographs from the Harold Washington Years. Muwakkil has also written for the Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Progressive, Newsday, Cineaste, Chicago Magazine, Emerge Magazine, The Black Scholar, and Utne Reader among others. Muwakkil has won a variety of journalism awards including the “Top Ten Media Heroes of 1994,” from the Institute of Alternative Journalism, the “Black Rose Achievement Award for 1997,” from the League of Black Women, and the 2001 Studs Terkel Award for Journalistic Excellence from the Chicago-based Community Media Workshop. In his spare time, Muwakkil serves as a board member for the Progressive Media Project and the Chicago-based Public Square. He has been a faculty member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Urban Studies Program, and an adjunct professor at Columbia College, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Primeridian, a hip-hop based, power group consisting of Simeon Viltz (See-Me-On), and Darshon Gibbs (Race), hail from the eclectic, historical music scene of Chicago. With musical influences from blues and R&B, to house and acid jazz, the Primeridian fuses these influences into a soulful, jazzy, acid-funk sound independent of musical genres and classifications pushing hip hop to new levels of exposure, experimentation and expression using thought-provoking lyrics, a touch of humor, skilled production and musicianship and years of explosive live performances. Simeon AKA “V,” a native of Chicago’s southeast Hyde Park area, represents the ‘the soul’ of Primeridian. Darshon “Race” Gibbs is an electrifying and captivating emcee able to entice those in earshot with lyrical prowess, depth and a distinct, strong voice. Original member, Jaime “Tree” Roundtree is now a teacher, focused on making connections with his students as an educator and his audience as an artist.

David Stovall is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  His scholarship investigates four areas 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) concepts of social justice in education, 3) the relationship between housing and education, and 4) the relationship between schools and community stakeholders. In the attempt to being theory to action, he has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of social justice.  His current work has led him to become a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team, which opened in the Fall of 2005. Furthering his work with communities, students, and teachers, Stovall is involved with youth-centered community organizations in Chicago, New York and the Bay Area.  In addition to his duties and responsibilities as an associate professor at UIC, he also serves as a volunteer social studies teacher at the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice.

avery r. young is a writer, performer and teaching artist.  He is a Cave Canem Fellow and his works have been published in AIMPrint, Callaloo, Spaces Between Us and many other anthologies and periodicals.  He is also featured on Urban Audiology:  The Art of Audio Truism and other compilations.

Richard Hunt, Michael Warr Explore Creativity and Change Sept 13

Dear Friends:

This is a reminder that the Guild Literary Complex Benefit is a week from this Tuesday, on Sept 13, 2011. The complex is hoping to receive responses/reservations by Wednesday (9-8) so that they can plan properly, but given that only one week remains, the main thing is that it is not too late to reserve your place. The event will have terrific food and, more importantly, will host a conversation on creativity between acclaimed sculptor Richard Hunt and poet Michel Warr.  Richard’s spectacular and monumental work, much of it created just steps from the site of Guild Books in his studio on Lill Street, is displayed in public places around the USA.  Michael is the founding director of the Guild Complex and a poet of remarkable powers.  Their exchange promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year!

If you don’t know about it already, the Guild Complex was born in the creative space created at Guild Books.  The Complex was the umbrella under which the Chicago Labor & Arts Festival developed.  The Complex promotes literature and sponsors readings & other literary events throughout Chicago, particularly among historically under-represented groups. I have been  on its board since its inception.

The first level of giving to attend the benefit is $75. If you can’t attend all donations are welcome. I’ve attached an invitation. Please feel free to forward it to anyone who is interested in art and literature in Chicago. The sooner the better, as the event has limited seating. Please respond online and Ilook forward to seeing  you there!


Radium Girls Statue Dedicated in Ottawa, Illinois

Radium Girls Statue Dedication Is the Place to Be This Labor Day Weekend —  Friday, September 2nd, 11:00 AM, Ottawa, Illinois

radium-death-newspaper-article On Friday, September 2, at 11:00 a.m. at the corner of Clinton and Jefferson streets in Ottawa, Illinois, a statue of a young woman holding flowers in one hand and paintbrushes in the other will be unveiled. She is the symbol of the Radium Girls, the young women who worked in the clock and watch factories dotting the Illinois Valley in the first half of the 20th century. This was the era of “glow in the dark” watch and clock dials, painted with deadly radium. Many of these workers died from the effects of putting their brushes in their mouths countless times a day to sharpen the points, as the companies trained them to do.

The statue will stand on the site of the Luminous Processes factory in Ottawa at Clinton and Jefferson. The City of Ottawa, community groups and local unions worked together to raise the funds and assure the successful completion of this project. Laborers Local 393, an affiliate union of the ILHS, has donated many member volunteer hours to prep the site where the statue will be placed.

It all started when student Madeline Piller made the Radium Girls the subject of her junior high history fair project, and then never forgot their story. Her father Bill Piller is a sculptor and she enlisted his help to honor these women, many of whom were laid to rest after their untimely deaths in the Catholic cemetery just outside of Ottawa. A Geiger counter passed over these graves will still register the presence of the deadly radium poison that took their lives.

The Ottawa Radium Girls were not alone. Radium-painting factories were also operating in New Jersey and Connecticut. In her book Radium Girls, Woman and Industrial Health Reform, 1910-1935, Central Michigan University historian Claudia Clark extensively documents the suffering of these young women and the fight they and their families mounted to obtain proper compensation from their employers.

radium-girls1 On July 7, 1937, the Chicago Daily Times covered one such legal battle. Reporter John Main wrote: “Fifteen living dead women will appear before the Illinois Industrial Commission here on July 25. It will be the next-to-last act of what lawyers say is the biggest and most pitiful miscarriage of justice in the history of Illinois. The last act will be these women’s death – sure, tortured, horrible.”

These efforts for justice helped spark needed legislation concerning occupational diseases’ and workers compensation laws throughout the country. This Labor Day weekend, we commemorate the contribution made by the struggle of these young women to the health and safety protection of all working people.

The video Radium City (excerpt) movingly recounts this tragedy.  For the complete video (almost 2 hr documentary), click here.


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