The Chicago Light Brigade’s 2014 Winter Update

I’m sharing my group’s winter newsletter here because I would like for more of you to hear about what we’ve done in 2014, and understand why your support is so important.

Season’s greetings to you all!

We would like to thank you for supporting us in what has turned out to be a powerful year for social justice movements in our city. Our biggest success of the year was undoubtedly our campaign to force CPS to repair hazardous conditions at Gale Elementary School in Rogers Park. After a hidden camera investigation, a series of direct actions, and a successful media blitz, we were able to force CPS to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair a school that they were clearly attempting to starve into privatization. Thanks to your support, the school’s fire alarms are now fully functional, and lead paint chips will not rain down on Gale’s classrooms in 2015.

Photo: Kelly Hayes

We also hosted our second annual youth nonviolent direct action training, which gave students an overview of the history of artful direct action and a chance to develop their prop making skills. The event also included talks from teenage activists about the work they are doing in our city.

Photo: Kelly Hayes
Photo: Kelly Hayes

A number of our actions this year involved working in concert with groups like Project NIA, Circles and Ciphers, and We Charge Genocide. Here’s a look at some of that work:

Photo: Justin Bianchi
Photo: Justin Bianchi

An action in support of reproductive choice on the eve of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Photo: Kelly Hayes
Photo: Kelly Hayes

An action planned with local youth demanding greater police accountability.

Photo: Kelly Hayes
Photo: Kelly Hayes

A projection on the side of a school shuttered by Rahm Emanuel’s austerity policies.

Photo: Justin Bianchi
Photo: Justin Bianchi

An action organized with UIC faculty during their strike for a fair contract.

Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee
Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee

An action in memory of those Chicago lost to violence this year, with one lighted origami lily per victim (432 in total).

We could not do this work without your assistance, so again, we thank you for supporting our efforts and those of our allies. We believe that the fight for a better world is, in the end, one struggle and one fight.

In 2015, we hope to repair weather worn equipment, invest in new light action techniques and tools, and make a short film with local high school students who are doing mathematical research around the school to prison pipeline. We hope to document their efforts, and help them develop light actions around their findings. The resulting video would be screened next fall as part of the National Week Against High School Push Out. They are eager to get started, and once funding is in place, we can begin this work.

We know not everyone can stand in the streets, but ensuring that the work can be done is part of organizing for change, and we are grateful for any and all financial contributions our community can make. We hope you’ll check out our fundraising page and consider lending some support. The page also includes our year in review video, which we hope you will enjoy.

To stay current with our work, you can follow us on twitter at @chilightbrigade or check in on our Facebook page.

Happy holidays to you and yours. As our ally Mariame Kaba would say, may the new year bring us both justice and peace.

In solidarity,
The Chicago Light Brigade

Photo credits: Sarah Jane Rhee, Justin Bianchi, Kelly Hayes

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