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Film screening, summer reflections, and more

September 2022 news from the Chicago Peacebuilding Program

Chicago WILD youth 2022
WILD youth (left to right) Auriyana, Gabe, Cece, Destiny and Faidat lead chants during their protest to stop the construction of a new youth prison in Illinois on July 26, 2022.   Photo: Claudette Richards / AFSC

After a much needed August break, we're back to our monthly newsletters, stocked full with updates from our summer programming and ways you can plug in and connect with us this month.  

This week - we have the rare and exciting chance to host a film screening and discussion with filmmaker Eva Lewis this Friday! Join us! The film is 'Undeterred,' a story of border militarization and community resistance to it in Arivaca, AZ.  While we don't typically work on border issues in our program, we recognize the connections between policing, militarization, and violent border enforcement practices - and are particularly disturbed by war profiteer Boeing's role in escalating surveillance in the border region.  Plus we can't wait to learn from how the community has fought back and told their story with this film.

In this newsletter, we're also eager to share about what's coming up for #TreatmentNotTrauma as we approach the City budget season, and to share about what's been happening with the Final Five's campaign to end youth incarceration as we've escalated actions targeting the architectural firm designing the new youth prison in Lincoln, IL.

Don't forget you can get more frequent updates by following us on Instagram.

Stay fierce,

AFSC Chicago Peacebuilding Coordinator



'Undeterred' Film Screening

This Friday 9/23, AFSC is hosting a film screening of “Undeterred,” a documentary about policing & border militarization in Arivaca, Arizona and community resistance to it.  The filmmaker - Eva Lewis - will be present to share about ongoing local organizing, and we’ll be offering some refreshments before and after the film.  

‘Undeterred’ Film Screening + Q&A with filmmaker Eva Lewis

When: Friday, September 23 at 5:30 PM
Where: 637 S. Dearborn St
Masks are required indoors at all times. Light refreshments will be offered before and after for those who arrive early to consume outdoors.  

Here’s more about the film:

Undeterred is a documentary about community resistance in the rural border town of Arivaca, Arizona. Since NAFTA, 9/11 and the Obama and Trump administrations border residents have been on the front-lines of the humanitarian crisis caused by increased border enforcement build up. Undeterred is an intimate and unique portrait of how residents in a small rural community, caught in the cross-hairs of global geo-political forces, have mobilized to demand our rights and to provide aid to injured, oft times dying people funneled across a wilderness desert. The film was made by Eva Lewis, a resident of Arivaca and long time member of People Helping People in the Border Zone (PHP). Undeterred was created in close collaboration with the Arivaca community and members of PHP.

Co-sponsored by:

#BoeingArmsGenocide, Chicago Torture Justice Center, WILD & more!




WILD Youth Organizing Institute

This summer, we piloted our inaugural WILD youth organizing institute and it was epic!  21 teens ages 15-19 participated in four weeks of training, activities, and action in support of abolitionist campaigns in Chicago.  The entire experience was lead and facilitated by our incredible team of coordinating interns.  

The interns reflected on the summer in this series of posts for Instagram that we hope you'll read through and share!  

Hear more from Zyhier, Rubi, Citali and Destiny!



WILD Graduation Video

Missed the graduation event on July 28th?  Fear not, it was filmed by the fabulous crew at Truth & Documentary LLC.  View the high quality recording here to hear directly from youth about what they learned this summer, and what it meant to be part of WILD.

WILD youth in action to close prisons!

On Tuesday July 26, WILD youth protested Gov Pritzker's plans to open a sixth youth prison in Illinois, rather than fulfilling his commitment to closing the remaining youth prisons.  Watch the video to see our crew in action, or read the Sun Times coverage here to hear directly about why they decided to take action!

Read more



Safety in Solidarity

Rogers Park Trainings

AFSC and community partner PO Box Collective have been working on a year of activities called Safety in Solidarity to engage Rogers Park in conversations about creating more safety for all of our neighbors, including those who are criminalized by our current system.  We are engaging people in thinking about how we can keep each other safe by relying on our strong networks, skills, and relationships instead of relying on the police—because many of our neighbors are vulnerable to violence and criminalization by the criminal legal system. 

Practicing injecting Naloxone with facilitator from the Chicago Recovery Alliance.

This summer we trained 60 people in Mental Health Crisis Response and Opioid Response and Recovery, with a Deescalation training coming up this weekend (registration is full), so that people can gain skills to help them avoid calling the police.  We've also launched a neighborhood art-based survey so that people can share their lived experience with community safety through storytelling and other cultural expressions.

For more info about future trainings:

For more info on Safety in Solidarity art activities:


Chicago Creatives for Justice

AFSC is a member organization of the Grassroots Collaborative, a community labor coalition that works on state and local policy change, and this summer we were excited to be part of the GC Chicago Creatives for Justice Fellowship program.   We were grateful to collaborate with Makeda Edwards and S.K., young creatives who were part of this innovative program to engage artists with social justice work. Makeda worked on a logo for the Safety in Solidarity project, and S.K. worked on images for the Final Five Campaign.

Art by Makeda Edwards

Art by S.K.


Campaign Updates!

Final Five Campaign

Photo by Aidan Kranz.  8.19.22

Last month, young formerly incarcerated organizers with the campaign to close youth prisons in Illinois took action at the Chicago office of Cordogan, Clark & Associates - the architecture firm receiving $21 million from the state of Illinois to design a new youth prison in Lincoln, IL.  They chanted, read a letter from incarcerated youth, and went inside and demanded to meet with the company president John Clark.  Stay tuned for updates as this work continues to escalate this fall. 

Photo by Aidan Kranz.  8.19.22

Sign the Petition



Treatment Not Trauma

The campaign to re-open the public mental health clinics in Chicago, and launch a non-police crisis response team citywide is gaining traction!   This fall, we're excited to throw down with organizers from Brighton Park Neighborhood Council & the #DefundCPD campaign to host a day-long Youth Summit for #TreatmentNotTrauma. 

Save the Date!
TreatmentNotTrauma Youth Summit
Saturday October 15 - 10AM - 5PM
1901 W. Carroll St (CTU Hall) 

There will be workshops, activities, action opportunities and more for teens to learn about and plug into the fight for care not cops, and treatment over trauma in Chicago.  Food will be provided, and we're working to ensure transit for all participants. 

Want to bring a group of youth, but need support getting there? Reach out to!




The Dissenters-led campaign to end Boeing's war profiteering has launched a new set of demands, after the victory in booting Boeing's corporate headquarters from Chicago.  Earlier this month, young folks took their demands to Gov. Pritzker's mansion in the pouring rain, demanding that he end tax subsidies for a new drone manufacturing facility in southern Illinois.  

Learn More




Despite our organizing against the cop academy and her professed sympathy with the campaign, construction has continued under Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration and is expanding this fall.  Read more from these two recent articles, featuring reactions from #NoCopAcademy youth and AFSC former interns, on the news that the city has approved another $33 million towards the facility.  

From the Block Club Chicago article:
"Destiny Bell, another organizer with No Cop Academy, has struggled to find housing for more than a year.
“To find out that they’re building a scenario village when there are thousands of people, homeless, with nowhere to go … it’s sickening,” she said. Read more

From the Architect's Newspaper article:
"Any architect who participates in realizing the carceral program of police surveillance and terror is complicit. Architects often characterize their work as impartial, but the reality is that the form of the built environment is regularly weaponized by those in power." Read more