Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

GUEST COLUMN City Year Chicago brings diversity, inclusion
by Fidel Williams Jr.
2017-04-26

This article shared 876 times since Wed Apr 26, 2017
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


"Thank you. No one has ever told me that before."

Hearing a third-grade student say those words after I told him he was smart is something that will always stick with me.

At the time, I was serving as an AmeriCorps Member for City Year Chicago, an education non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk students by putting young adults into classrooms serving as tutors and mentors.

During my years of service a clear realization dawned on me: City Year is not only an outstanding organization—it is a very necessary one.

From an early age, growing up in church, I felt that service was my destiny. However, it wasn't easy to find programs that were inclusive or aligned with my personal morals and values. But at City Year I found my home. In fact, I have never felt so welcomed by an organization.

And after my life-changing experiences as an AmeriCorps member, I joined City Year as a staff member, first as a recruiter and now a fundraiser. These past nine years have brought some of the most rewarding moments of my life.

This organization not only embraces diversity and inclusiveness, but it really puts it into practice. The AmeriCorps members serving in Chicago Public Schools come from all walks of life. Many of the students we serve don't get the opportunity to go outside of their communities and so having in-class mentors from varying backgrounds enlightens our kids to the diversity of the world.

One of several initiatives that embraces City Year's commitment to diversity is SLAM ( the Society of Latino and African-American Men ). Its mission is to strengthen African-American and Latino male AmeriCorps members by providing professional development and mentoring, creating a bonded brotherhood to overcome the rough climate for men of color in this country. Why? In the words of our Executive Director Rebeca Nieves Huffman, "They got to see us to be us!"

In addition to diversity and inclusiveness, City Year is also a champion of social justice. Our AmeriCorps members play a small but vital role in breaking the cycle of poverty that plagues low-income communities by guiding students on-track to graduate from high school and then attend college.

By harnessing the power of young people we show our students and their communities that they are not forgotten.

I am the person I am today because of this organization. My experiences have allowed me to be a light in my community, while also receiving the opportunity to advance in my career, travel the country and engage with elected officials on Capitol Hill.

Unfortunately, City Year is a program that would suffer major funding cuts under the budget blueprint proposed by the White House, leaving a lot of students on track to drop out.

This should especially raise concern for the LGBTQ community because the dropout rate for LGBTQ youth is three times the national average. Our children need City Year.

The budget blueprint proposes to cut AmeriCorps funding entirely. So there would be no funds for City Year locations across the nations or other programs such as Teach for America and Playworks. This would be very unfortunate since AmeriCorps is certainly one government initiative that's actually working to make a difference.

When that 3rd grade student told me that no one had ever called him smart, it deeply troubled me. It made me realize that some of our youth are very discouraged and don't always receive the love and support a child needs to flourish. It made me realize how essential City Year is for our community and our country.

There's nothing more valuable than the energy and idealism of young people. When you have young people who actually believe they can change the world, they tend to do it. AmeriCorps helps make that possible, and it is my sincerest hope we continue to implement these programs that are inclusive and essential for a healthy and thriving community.

Fidel Williams Jr. is a City Year Chicago alumnus, and is its development operations manager. See CityYear.org .


This article shared 876 times since Wed Apr 26, 2017
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics 2022-05-24
- Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...


Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...


Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry 2022-05-06
- It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...


Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now 2022-04-26
- The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...


Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer! 2022-04-23
- Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...


Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document 2022-04-07
- I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Mixed reactions to Will Smith's slap 2022-04-05
- By now, everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a tasteless and misogynistic joke about his wife's short hair resembling Demi Moore's buzzcut in the 1997 movie ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT On A Scale of 1 to 10: Sex, Religion, Power, Politics--A Public Meditation 2022-04-03
- QUESTION: "On a scale of one to 10, how faithful would you say you are, in terms of religion?"—U.S Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), South Carolina RESPONSE: "… there's no religious test in the Constitution under Article ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For Elise, I promise to advocate to ban the trans/gay panic defense 2022-03-29
- Elise is dead. We don't yet know how or why. But Elise is dead, and my heart is breaking. Trans activist Elise Malary was an inspiration for me. She was the driving force behind the legislation ...


Gay News

VIEWS Putin's war and anti-queer Christian nationalism 2022-03-15
- —'Don't Say Gay' bill clears Florida Senate awaiting signature of Governor Ron De Santis (March 08, 2022). —Texas attorney general Ken Paxton issues legal opinion classifying gender-affirming medical care for ...


Gay News

VIEWS Bannon, the Catholic vote and our democracy 2022-02-20
- "I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball for what we do every day... We're taking down the Biden regime." Stephen K. Bannon speaking to reporters as he turned himself over to federal ...


Gay News

Social commentator Fran Lebowitz at Auditorium Theatre April 15 2022-02-16
- Social commentator, satirist and author Fran Lebowitz will be at Chicago's Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on Friday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. Lebowitz essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current ...


Gay News

LETTER Love is the road to healing 2022-02-15
- I am writing this letter to the editor in response to the press release that was printed in the present online issue of Windy City Times. The press release ("Program for LGBTQ people/families pushed by Archdiocese ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT: FDA must lift discriminatory blood-donor policy 2022-01-26
- With the nation's blood supply at its lowest point in a decade, and the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever national blood crisis earlier this month, it is time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Who is my neighbor? 2022-01-20
- The notion of functioning as a Good Samaritan is one that transcends any particular faith tradition. The idea of humans treating humans in a humane way sounds so simple, yet history and modernity are replete with ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.