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MOVING FORWARD, RISING UP: Taking Action in Chicago

The Chicago Inclusion Project's mission to illuminate our shared human story by bringing together communities of people who have been separated for a multitude of reasons, embracing the idea of acceptance and truly seeing each other seems more pressing now than ever before. Creating spaces for each and every one of us to grieve and create and expand is vital. Action is the only option.

But what do we do? And how do we do it?

For starters, we can put our energy, support, money, time, whatever we have available to us into the institutions that will protect the communities at now risk. This city contains a stunning amount of organizations you can volunteer for RIGHT now -- these are just a few:

For the LGBTQI communities

- Broadway Youth Center: For more than 1,500 teens and young adults, the Broadway Youth Center (BYC) of Howard Brown Health is a haven to seek refuge, medical care, social services, clothes and other much-needed care. All of our services are for youth, ages 12 to 24. BYC sees anyone, regardless of ability to pay.

- Chicago Ambassadors of the Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. The Chicago Ambassadors are a network of inspiring volunteers who help to expand our reach, raise awareness of our programs, raise life-saving funds, plan regional events, and advocate for the young people we serve.Ambassadors are an integral part of our mission to prevent suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.

- Center on Halsted: Center on Halsted is proud of our legacy of advocacy, support and educational services. The same services that helped form the core of Center on Halsted's programming.

- Chicago House - Chicago House and Social Service Agency serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services, and other supportive programs.

For Immigrant and Refugee, Muslim and Latinx Rights

- Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: Dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

- Grassroots Illinois Action – A community-based organization building a permanent, grassroots independent political organization. GIA works to expand the progressive influence of our members by organizing and empowering eachother to address community needs and promote economic and racial justice.Our community needs leadership who will fight for policies that benefit working families, and who will address the issues that affect our communities.

- Enlace Chicago - Enlace Chicago is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the residents of the Little Village community by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.

- Muslim Women Resource Center - The Muslim Women Resource Center’s mission is to assist immigrant and refugee Muslim women and their families in overcoming cultural and language barriers, while empowering them with the appropriate occupational skills for them to become self-sufficient and ready to enter the job market.

For the African American community

- the #LetUsBreathe Collective -This aims to harness creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice in America and worldwide. A grassroots alliance of artists, journalists, and activists, we use our talents to amplify marginalized voices, disrupt the status quo, offer opportunities for healing and education, and provoke critical thought and dialogue about the intersections of oppression through film, music, theater, poetry, and civil disobedience.

- The Lucy Parsons Lab - A transparency non-profit that seeks to engage our community in a horizontal manner while organizing around digital rights issues, supporting free and open source projects and seeking the free flow of information globally. The Lucy Parsons Labs is a Chicago-based collaboration between data scientists, transparency activists, and technologists which focuses on the intersection of digital rights and on-the-streets issues. The core group is made up of data scientists, sysadmins, and activists with a goal of merging these issues into a functional non-profit.

- Black Youth Project 100 - BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a collective focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens.

- Rainbow PUSH Coalition - The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Their mission is to protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.

For Reproductive Rights and Sexual Assault Victims

- Planned Parenthood of Illinois - Planned Parenthood of Illinois is Illinois' most trusted provider of reproductive health care. Each health center provides preventive services that help women, families and communities stay healthy including: lifesaving cancer screenings, breast health care, well-woman exams, contraceptive services, and sexually transmitted infection prevention and treatment.

- American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois - The ACLU’s Reproductive Rights Project seeks, through litigation, public education and legislative advocacy, to make certain that all in our society have access to safe and effective contraception, sexuality education and information, reproductive technologies, prenatal care, childbearing assistance and safe, legal, and accessible abortion. ACLU strives to ensure that women have the right to decide whether and when to bear a child and the resources to effectuate their decisions. They believe that these decisions should be made without government interference and that all people must have equal access to the information and resources necessary to make informed, independent choices about their reproductive lives. Because of our work, Illinois has become a destination for people throughout the country seeking quality reproductive healthcare and information without harmful government restrictions.

- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault - ICASA member rape crisis centers are located across the state and provide services to approximately 98% of the state's population. Each center responds to victims of sexual assault and several centers provide services to multiple counties. Each center operates a 24-hour-hotline that provides services every day of the year. Staff and volunteers provide counseling, education and advocacy for victims and their families regardless of age, race or income. The rape crisis centers conduct training and prevention programs for local schools, law enforcement, hospitals and civic groups.

- Sarah's Inn - Sarah’s Inn provides comprehensive services for families affected by domestic violence so that they get the support they need to find safety, rebuild their lives, and heal. Our legal support services help ensure that survivors of domestic violence receive equal rights and protection under the law. Sarah’s Inn is a community leader in educating children and adolescents about how to cultivate healthy relationships to prevent future violence from occurring. Working in partnership with local stakeholders, we run education and training programs to promote an appropriate community response to violence.

For the Arts

- Albany Park Theater Project - A multiethnic, youth theater ensemble that inspires people to envision a more just and beautiful world. Dedicated to art, to youth, and a vision of social justice, APTP makes a home in one of the three most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the entire country, where we create original theater based on the life experiences of people whose stories might otherwise go untold: urban teens, immigrants, and working-class Americans. The art APTP makes enriches the cultural vitality and quality of life in their neighborhood and throughout Chicago.

- Barrel of Monkeys Productions - Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is an ensemble of actor/educators who create an alternative learning environment in which children share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. BOM accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of children’s stories. BOM also engages the broader community in support of the visions of children through public performances of their work. BOM's vision is a radically kind Chicago that champions children’s ideas.

- Free Street Theater - Free Street Theater creates performance by, for, and with a wide range of participants, challenges ideas of where theater belongs and who belongs in a theater, and uses theater to ask questions, prompt dialogue, and build community.

- A.B.L.E. - Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations. Their mission is to provide artistic experiences through which individuals with special needs feel accepted and empowered to discover their own unique voices, and develop the confidence and skills to share who they are and what they are truly ABLE to do!

- Hope 31:9 - This company strives tell stories that will speak up for the people who have no voice, no dreams, deferred hope. As an ensemble they will serve as the vessels of those whose voices demand to be heard.

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