Hello, hello. This is Isaac. I’ve been a member of the Chicago Childcare Collective since arriving in Chicago in early February. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be engaged in a new city, to work in solidarity with some of the incredible community organizing that folks are leading and participating here in Chicago, and spend time with some rad volunteers and rad kids. In this blog post I’m gonna be sharing some of what ChiChiCo has been up to of late and some of our plans looking forward.
We’re really excited about the training for new volunteers that we held this past Saturday, 4/26! We’ve recently done some outreach for new volunteers and the training on the 26th was in part a result of the nice response we’ve seen so far, as well as the steady trickle of interest that comes from word-of-mouth, the internet, etc. We hope to do some more outreach in the future, perhaps, as needed based on the childcare requests we receive. We’ve also talked a little bit about the possibility that we could provide more childcare in solidarity with community orgs and projects in the city that match up with our mission, through developing relationships and building new partnerships. We’re so grateful for our current partnerships with Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions, Blocks Together, and Teachers for Social Justice, and the work each of these groups is doing.
Some of the projects that we are currently or have recently been working on are an article in AREA Chicago, a new zine, the second session of the “C is for Civil Rights” Book Club, AMC (Allied Media Conference) 2014, a RadicalColoringBook, and a Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ) Inquiry to Action Group on Community Care.
One of the first things I got to be a part of when I started working with ChiChiCo was a new zine to give to trainees at our February 22nd training. It’s a pretty basic resource meant to offer some background about the collective, some practical tips and insights on providing childcare, and some ideas about bringing transformative justice values into childcare. We borrowed big time from resources created by folks from the awesome Kidz City Baltimore and Bay Area Childcare Collective, respectively, fellow-sister-member-teammate groups in the Intergalactic Conspiracy of Childcare Collectives! We still have hopes to go back and spruce this zine up a bit with some more color, games, and overall fun-ness.
We also included an article written by some core ChiChiCo members that was featured in the latest issue of AREA Chicago. You can see deets about the issue, titled/themed “Childhoods,” here!! We included this article to provide some history, grounding, and vision of ChiChiCo.
I don’t want to spoil the article for anyone, and encourage you to check it out! But here’s a teaser of the article headings to provide a sense of what’s in store:
~Roots~ ~ICCC~ ~Values~ ~Identity~ ~SecondGeneration~ ~Transition~ ~Challenges~ ~Future~
At the end of March, we kicked off this Spring’s “C is for Civil Rights” Book Club, the second session of a joint project between ChiChiCo and the Chicago Freedom School. This session is focusing broadly on Latin@ social movements, and we have one more meeting left. You can find more info about this Spring’s session, pictures and curriculum from last Fall’s session, and even sign up to participate or volunteer for our last book club meeting on 5/4 heeeeeeeere, if you wanna! We generally gather round for a read-aloud of a book about a Latin@ social justice issue (or issues), with an emphasis on the centering of empowered, active young people, and finish with an art project related to the story, with some fun lil exercises/activities/snack-munching throughout! It’s a pretty wonderful time. You can also find a super much more comprehensive and worthwhile article on the book club in the AREA issue (theme alert).
Another big topic of conversation at collective meetings right now is about the Allied Media Conference (AMC) in June. We’ve been doing a fundraiser for kids and parents to get to the AMC, which you can check out here (this is a link to etsy, in case you need convincing that it’s worth clicking!). We are also gearing up for the AMC in other ways, like planning transportation – from trains to bikes to cars (but mostly bikes), preparing for workshops, and getting ready to start fundraising for ChiChiCo members’ own trips. We’ll try to keep you posted on all these things!
We’re just wrapping up a Chicago Radical Coloring Book, and it has been so awesome to get to see this project being carried out and assembled! You can see the original call for entries below, from 10/21/13. We’re so grateful for the submissions we’ve gotten and can’t wait to share them with the world. We’re finishing up all the last touches and are so excited to send it off for printing! This is a project that folks at ChiChiCo, and also those submitting entries, have been really beyond jazzed about, and you can read a little more about it and see some coloring pages in the last issue of AREA! Stay tuned for an update about purchasing a book at a sliding scale, and where to find the free PDF’s once they are posted online! (Guess where else you can find an article and some sample pages for coloring? AREA #14, actually, if you can believe it. I promise I’m not even getting paid for this promo.)
In the meantime check out this piece of the spread:
We also recently finished up an Inquiry to Action Group sponsored by Teachers for Social Justice and led by a couple of ChiChiCo members, Joan and Jake. J&J organized a group called Community Care, in which we met weekly and discussed, often based on shared readings, ideas about care and how individuals and communities can for each other and them/our selves – especially in a societal context in which care work is severely devalued and marginalized. Some of the biggest ideas we engaged with throughout the 8 weeks were around defining – and not defining – community care; accessibility; care work and its relationship to (the context of) capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and other systems of oppression; the myriad ways that care can be practiced and look; scarcity and abundance.
We’ve started the laying the groundwork for putting together a Community Care zine, and are looking forward to how that unfolds. We are hoping to finalize a call for entries in the next couple of weeks and trying to use the zine as a forum for highlighting some of the many wonderful and super wide-ranging ways that folks are doing the work of community care already, to spark thinking and conversation around the topic of community care, serve as a resource for folks who want to learn more or become more engaged with this work, and hopefully offer some potential for collaboration or network building if that’s where folks want to take it. Stay tuned for more about the call!
I think that about wraps it up for me! Thanks for reading : ). I hope you’re well.