2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Need for Girl Talk

By Chicago Girl Talk Collective Member Kayla:

Being exposed to the environment at JTDC has increased my awareness of the need for programs such as Girl Talk. JTDC is a controlled environment which restricts many of the girl’s freedoms. Girl Talk provides the young women in JTDC an opportunity to be just that, young women. As much as can be expected while in confinement, the girls are able to be themselves. Rather than try to control the young women’s feelings, the Girl Talk collective encourages the girls to be open and creative within a safe space. As a member of the Girl Talk collective, I have been awarded the opportunity to spend time with the young women at JTDC in a relaxed setting. Growing up in the inner-city of Chicago, I am familiar with many of the experiences these young women are challenged with daily and this allows me to see the young women as something other than “delinquent”. These young women are resilient and strong and given different circumstances, and perhaps a different system to handle “delinquency”, these girls are very much capable of great things.  I am grateful to be part of the Girl Talk collective and I can only hope to encourage the development of additional services, like Girl Talk, for the girls at JTDC.  


Race. Justice. Power: Through the Lens of the Trayvon Martin Case and Its Relevance to Chicago


 Trayvon Martin

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Black Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin, has ignited protests and triggered debates about the nature of race, class, gender, violence and power in this country. There have been a flood of emotions surrounding this case, all of which is understandable, but this teach-in is an opportunity to delve into the underlying issues that surround this case and what it represents. It is a point of departure for a discussion of a whole range of pressing issues. We will also explore the implications of the Martin murder and Zimmerman acquittal in light of the ongoing crises of violence, school closings and deteriorating life chances for Black and Brown youth in Chicago.

  • How do we analyze the significance of this case?
  • What has been the role of mainstream media in framing or distorting the case?
  • How does this case fit into the larger frame of the growing prison industry, criminalization of Black and Brown youth, and the escalating problem of gun violence?
  • What are the lessons about the mechanisms of change or the limits of certain mechanisms for change – how effective are mass pressure/ mobilization? Petitions? Art? The court system? Social Media?
  • What would “justice” look like in this case, especially given there is such widespread criticism of incarceration as a solution? How do prison abolitionists respond to the George Zimmerman trial?
  • Pulling back for the minutiae of the case and trial, what are the larger social justice issues represented by this case and what insight do we draw from them?

Speakers included:

Two of a number of speakers include:  Gary Younge, author and writer for The Guardian,  Malcolm X College Professor Abra Johnson, Truth n’ Trauma organizer and activist Danton Floyd, as well as Chicago youth organizers.

This will be an interactive teach in format with resources and information provided in multiple forms.

“Without struggle there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

915 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2013. 7:00 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.

Co-conveners: Prudence Browne, Charity Tolliver, Lisa Brock, Tracye Matthews, Cathy Cohen, Jasson Perez, David Stovall, Barbara Ransby, Danton Floyd, Mia Henry, Asha Ransby-Sporn, Mariame Kaba, FM Supreme, Alice Kim, Rev. Janette Wilson, Kevin Coval, Isis Ferguson, Lisa Yun Lee, Touissaint Losier, Deana Lewis, Lynette Jackson, James Thindwa, Martha Biondi, Fresco Steez.



Upcoming Event: Self-Care Day at IYC-Warrenville

The Girl Talk Collective is planning our second Self Care Day at IYC-Warrenville on January 12, 2013.  After another great Self Care Day at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, we are looking for volunteers to join us at IYC-Warrenville. 

 To make the day a success, we are looking for


If you are a bodywork therapist (massage, reflexology, etc…), please volunteer your time and skills.

If you can offer manicures and/or pedicures to the young women, please volunteer.

Do you teach yoga, relaxation and anti-stress techniques? Then please join us.

We are asking for volunteers who identify as women. If you are interested contact us at chicagogirltalk@gmail.com or 773-392-5165.

We are asking volunteers to let us know about their availability by December 30th. We are going to give a list of all volunteers who will be participating to the prison so that we can clear everyone in advance.


Warrenville volunteers:

We will confirm the time with you, but please plan to volunteer from 1p-5:30p plus driving time.

All volunteers:
We will set up carpools so if you have a car and can drive some folks, let us know.


We need several supplies for the day and also for the gift bags that we would like to give to the young women at the end of the day.

Lotions (any size)
Hair Care Products (appropriate for young women of color)
Bath Gels
Aromatherapy Oils (Peppermint, Lavender, Orange, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Rosemary, etc…)
Nail Tools (emery boards, cuticle pushers, toe separators, Nail polish dryer aerosol, pumice stones)
Gift bags

Rubbing alcohol

Hand sanitizer

Hair Brushes

Cotton pads

Hand towels January 7th. You can mail items to: Project NIA c/o RPCC, 1530 West Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626. If you want to drop off your items, you can do so at the same address however please call Mariame at 773-392-5165 to make sure that someone will be there to receive the items from you. Finally, if you prefer to contribute money (which we would gladly accept), you can make your check payable to Project NIA (write Girl Talk on the memo line) and mail to the address listed above. We will be shopping after January 7th for all of the items that we did not get donated.



Important Note: We very much believe that ALL incarcerated youth deserve many “self-care” days. Our capacity only allows us to work with the young women at JTDC and IYC-Warrenville. If a group of men would like to organize similar events for young men at the JTDC, please contact Mariame so that she can connect you to the appropriate staff at the jail.


Volunteer Opportunity: Curriculum Team

GIRL TALK is working on a new curriculum and we need your help!

 We are looking for people to help us create the 3rd cycle of  our curriculum.  We are currently screening movies and brainstorming activities to do with the girls at the JTDC.  We would love to have some “fresh eyes” and new perspectives.   

 If you are interested in joining us – NO experience necessary! – please email deana at chicagogirltalk@gmail.com.  Our next meeting is Saturday, July 28th.  Email us for more details!

Using Voices Not Fists: Poetry Slam

Did you know February is teen dating violence awareness month???

Between Friends (a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and abuse is hosting this awesome event!

In Honor of Non-Violence, a night of poetry:

For: Youth who have something to say(though everyone is encouraged to attend)

When: Saturday Feb, 26th 4-6pm

Where: Pressure Billiards Cafe 6318 N Clark St. Chicago, IL

POETS: if you’d like to read please rsvp to reachinterns@between-friendschicago.org


Restoring Hope After Trauma Conference



When: Saturday, March 12th, 2011 10am to 7pm
Where: Northwestern University School of Law
374 E. Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611
Space is LIMITED


The goal of the conference is to invite youth leaders from Illinois to learn about trauma and what it means, to learn about resources and ways that youth cope and have hope after trauma, to gain ideas from youth about what is important for adults to know about their experiences, and to have a celebration at the end of the day.

You will learn about various topics including but not limited to:
1.      Trauma- How to cope with and survive after.
2.      Community Violence-  Understanding what resources there are and how to protect yourself
3.      Dating Violence- How to have healthy relationships
4.      Self-Care- How to care for others while still taking care of yourself.
5.      Networking- What other youth organizations are doing and how you can get connected to their work.

The event is being offered at NO COST to participants thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Northwestern University, Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, Urban Youth Trauma Center at UIC, and La Rabida Children’s Hospital Chicago Child Trauma Center.  This event was organized by La Rabida Children’s Hospital’s Chi-Town Youth Voices, a group whose main focus is about helping youth cope with life after trauma.

Snacks, Lunch, and Dinner will be provided.

You can complete an application online here: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vsmyeneab&oeidk=a07e3adz3oad18e932c

NOTE: Completing an application DOES NOT guarantee that you are registered.  All confirmed registrations will be announced by February 20th, 2011.  Unfortunately not everyone who applies will be able to attend this event.  We will make every effort to adequately document the event and will create a public record of what happened so that those who weren’t present can still participate.


Hurry up and get your application in.  This promises to be an insightful and powerful event!