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Each day that I lived in Chicago I was able to snatch a piece of an entirely new perspective; that of Fred Hampton Jr., the son of the young activist and Black Panther member who was murdered by Chicago Police in 1969; the young high school student who thrives on spoken word poetry, using each Tuesday night open-mic at Young Chicago Authors to keep her interested in life; the Latino man in his late 20’s paralyzed by gun violence from his involvement in a gang, now only to have feeling above his waist. Every day I consumed story after story, learning about the complex identities that helped to create the city. Simultaneously, I learned about my own story and responsibility to all of these identities. And within the vast and beautifully diverse streets of Chicago, I had the opportunity to explore and discover the need for creative expression and restorative justice. I was able to truly engage with all sorts of communities while mapping the city, not only by its structural flaws but also by its incredible assets. My experience in Chicago was like no other academic experience I have ever had. The ACM Chicago Program pushed me to engage with both the community and myself in ways I never imagined possible.
—Shea Love, Chicago Program (Urban Studies), Fall 2012
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