Linking Chicago and the Wider African World
Your Support Needed Now
Chicago, April 16, 2018
Update April 30, 2018Pardon the repetition, but emails often don't get through and I wanted to make sure you saw this since you contributed last year or in 2016 and Making the Road particularly needs your support again this year. The group going to Southern Africa this year is very promising, but we urgently need funds to assist those who cannot pay the full costs out of their own resources. MTR seminars this year focuses specifically on the challenges of teaching about Africa, and the participation of activist teachers is essential. This year will also lay the groundwork for ongoing ties by teachers from Chicago with teachers in Southern Africa and Cuba. So I hope you can make an extra effort to help out.
The group includes three teachers from the Chicago Public Schools, recruited through the Chicago Teachers Union (Natasha Carlsen, Sarah Chambers, Elissa Langston), the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts (LeRhonda Greats), and the Director of Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies at the Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training (Sherri Bevel). Carlsen and Chambers teach in special education and are active in the CTU task force on special education; Langston is an elementary school teacher on the Southside of Chicago. The three other participants are students at Columbia College, Chicago (Noelle Awadallah, Anna Chandler, and Alexandra Herzog). Noelle Awadallah and Alexandra Herzog are graduating in May 2018, while Anna Chandler is beginning her studies and hopes to pursue a career in film. Awadallah has been the president of Students for Justice in Palestine, while Herzog is completing a degree in American Sign Language-English interpreting.
You can make your tax-deductible contribution through the MTR's fiscal sponsor the South Africa Development Fund. Please remember to designate your contribution for Making the Road.
Whatever you can contribute to help will be most appreciated. Please feel free to call me with any questions at 708-790-8931.
Thanks in advance,
Dear Friends and Comrades,
The history and future of oppression and resistance in the United States are intimately linked to the wider African world, both on the continent and the diaspora in the Americas. Yet U.S. media and education, shaped by narrow nationalism, racism, and other structural biases, most often work against understanding that reality. We are presented with the dichotomy of focusing only on issues "at home" or those considered too far away to matter. Yet our struggles are in fact interwoven and we gain strength by nurturing those relationships and a wider vision.
Making the Road has consistently focused on expanding mental horizons and personal networks across borders and over generations. But the impact really depends on the multiplier effect, as Making the Road participants do that work in their day-to-day work and community engagement. Much of that responsibility falls to teachers.
That's why I am particularly delighted that this year, for travel seminars to Southern Africa and Cuba, we have had the assistance of friends in the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to recruit participants. Of the 8 people confirmed for the Southern Africa seminar, 5 are teachers, 4 of them in Chicago. Of 26 expressing preliminary interest in the Cuba seminar, 16 are teachers, 12 of them in Chicago. This is very gratifying to me personally because both my parents and three other family members were active CTU members for their more than 30 years as teachers.
Looking to the future, my hope is that this concentrated participation from Chicago teachers can help build lasting ties to teachers in Southern Africa and Cuba and be a critical mass for amplifying the seminar theme of "Teaching 'Africa' in a Transnational Age: Countries, Continents, and Global Social Justice." As you know, whether or not "Africa" is a curriculum topic for a particular teacher, there are many ways of weaving a wider vision into interactions with one's students. And just as there is no way to understand the history and present of the United States without centering Black and indigenous realities, those realities must also be seen as connected to a wider African world.
That's where you come in. If you are on this list, you very likely have been building such connections yourselves for most of your lives. And you know how essential it is that visions of a wider world be rooted in personal connections. Many thanks to those of you who have already contributed financial support recently or helped with recruiting this year's participants, many of whom have taken the lead in the resurgence of Chicago Teachers Union mobilization in recent years.
But the sober reality is that approximately half of our participants cannot afford the full cost themselves. All are committed to raising funds through their own networks. But Making the Road is also committed to provide scholarships to offset the cost. Right now, because of the urgency for confirming flights and local arrangements for Southern Africa, we need to raise an additional $10,000 to match $10,000 that participants are themselves committed to raise.
Any contribution, large or small, is much appreciated.
Make your secure tax-deductible donation on-line through the South African Development Fund, which serves as the fiscal sponsor for Making the Road. Be sure to designate your donation for Making the Road. You can also send a check, made out to the South Africa Development Fund and designated for Making the Road, to SADF, 555 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02130.
A Luta Continua,
P.S. If you have questions or need more background before donating, please feel free
to call me on my cell (708-790-8931). Please note that the email address this message is sent from is used for updates related to the Making the Road trips. For personal messages to Prexy, please use his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org