Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bored in the suburbs, write some words, get heard...

I have had my radar tuned to anything for teens to do that is different and cool and doesn't involve anything illegal. I remember being a teen and thinking that there is very little cool to do. I am also struck by the number of teens in the upper middle class suburbs seeking an authentic culture and an anti-suburban culture such as hiphop. Well, here's something different and authentic and fun:

From Chicago Public Radio:
The annual "Louder Than A Bomb" teen poetry slam engages schools and community organizations from all over the Chicago area. This friendly competition gathers the best and brightest young writers (age 13-19) from throughout the region with the winners going on to represent Chicago at the national level.

"Louder Than A Bomb" is a safe space that emphasizes community building, education, and youth empowerment. By carrying on the rich tradition of oral storytelling and the spoken word, this competition historically engages more than 350 youth participants representing over 40 schools and community centers to share stories, break stereotypes, and speak the truth, challenging themselves and their audience.

The competition took place February 28 through March 9 throughout Chicago.

What a great outlet for teens feeling bored and unstimulated in the burbs. If you don't feel creative enough to write, get out to one of the competitions just to watch. Here's a link to some recordings of the best from 2008.

Keep your eyes open for the 2009 competition.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Violence in the city

Chicago Public Radio did a report this morning on the exposure to guns that some teens in the city face. It is amazing how different growing up in another neighborhood can be. I think it is hard for many of us to realize how different this experience could be and how that could shape you. I think there is a tendency for non-sociologists to under-emphasize this. Instead people without a sociological imagination think that these kids just make bad choices. Listen to this report from CPR and think about how different this experience might be.