Over sixty participants joined United Way of Metro Chicago and the facilitation team for the three day kick-off session of the Safer Through Unity Rapid Action Social Lab. Using the backdrop of the Chicago Teachers Union as a brick-and-mortar example of “Unity is Strength,” the three day session was designed to achieve the following:

  • Set the foundation for Safer Through Unity and ensure all participants have a shared understanding and purpose
  • Create 5-6 prototyping teams and 5-6 prototypes
  • Strengthen networks and capacity to work together on issues of neighborhood safety in Chicago

 

DAY 1 – July 13, 2017

Registration, Welcome, Check-in, Introduction

Day one laid the groundwork for the next three days: going over registration details and introductions, identifying program objectives and agenda and discussing ground rules. Participants were also invited to participate in one of six learning journeys designed to expose the participants to a part of the social system that is not in their day-to-day experience. 

Following the learning journeys, participants regrouped with the facilitators on the individual learning journey experiences – putting themselves into the shoes of the people they met. Participants had the opportunity for personal reflection and for sharing different perspectives.

DAY 2 – July 14, 2017

Context, Dialogue Interviews, Solo Time, Brainstorming

The morning session included break-out groups where teams of three spent 10 minutes telling each of their personal stories, and solo time when participants were asked to “unplug” for 30 minutes in the park. They were directed to reflect and think about the question: How do we work together to make our children and families safe from violence and deportations in our neighborhoods?”

The afternoon session saw participants brainstorming ideas for how to address the posed questions, and creating teams that will each focus on one of the ideas. The teams formed on Day 2 will work together over three months to develop prototype solutions around one specific theme that will help address ways to keep our children and families safe from violence and deportations

DAY 3 – July 15, 2017

Prototyping, Action planning, Closing

Teams developed prototype models using materials like pipe cleaners, thread, cloth, popsicle sticks, glue etc. The teams presented their models and then developed action plans that clarified the following: Challenge Statement, Prototype, Our Team, Partners, Who is going to Benefit, Action Timeline (from now to next Studio in one month), Resources, Unanswered Questions, and The Next Week.

COMMUNITY TEAMS

LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 1: Parent/Family school engagement in Little Village

 
LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 1 + 2 Full Service Schools.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can parents and families from Little Village be effectively engaged and lead the fight to create and/or sustain full service schools in the community that function as safe havens for families impacted by prejudice and discrimination, manifested as lack of resources, funding inequities and a broken system?


LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 2: Parent/Family school engagement in Little Village

 
LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 1 + 2 Full Service Schools.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can parents and families from Little Village be effectively engaged and lead the fight to create and/or sustain full service schools in the community that function as safe havens for families impacted by prejudice and discrimination, manifested as lack of resources, funding inequities and a broken system?


AUSTIN CHALLENGE 3: Love in Austin

 
AUSTIN CHALLENGE 3 Austin Love.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can we work together to get in touch with those who are unloved to prevent actions of violent behavior?


AUSTIN CHALLENGE 4: Community Food Initiative

 
AUSTIN CHALLENGE 4 Community Food Initiative.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can we address the lack of healthy food in Austin and the impacts on mental wellness, which can trigger violence, drug abuse and alcohol addiction?


LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 5: Legal support and rapid deportation response in Little Village

 
LITTLE VILLAGE CHALLENGE 5 Rapid Response.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can we organize families to be protected, informed, supported and empowered to fight back against policies and ICE who target undocumented individuals with criminal records who are most prioritized by the current administration?


BRIGHTON PARK CHALLENGE 6: Developing neighborhood resilience in Brighton Park

 
BRIGHTON PARK CHALLENGE 6 Legal Support.jpg

Challenge Statement:

How can we help undocumented/low income families receive free legal and mental health services in Brighton Park?