- January 26, 2011
- 12:45 pm
- Donald Heider
Keeping a legacy alive
The Reverend Al Sharpton was at Loyola this week as part of our celebration remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Sharpton’s talk to faculty, staff and students downtown, he talked about King’s legacy and asked us how we might continue to bring attention to inequality. A good question and a big question.
As I thought about that question, I thought about our project in Pilsen. Two years ago we began partnering with Benito Juarez Community Academy, working with the school’s journalism program. Our students began mentoring some of their students. Some of our faculty and staff visited the school and offered what help we could. Juarez is a great high school in an area of Chicago where there are some serious economic and educational challenges.
With the help from a Chicago Community Trust grant, we were able to begin a community paper; “Adentro de Pilsen,” which runs stories done by both Juarez and Loyola students. Although we launched a web site for the paper, we knew from the outset the primary means of distribution had to be through old fashioned news print. That’s because the majority of residents in Pilsen still do not have access to computers and the internet in their homes.
Although funding has run out for the paper, we are doing our best to keep it operating. The School of Communication wants to continue to bring attention to inequality, as Reverend Sharpton suggested.
The paper has run some outstanding stories on issues like health care, education, and local politics in the community.
King wrote from the Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
When we ignore communities like Pilsen, Bronzeville, and Bridgeport, we do so at great peril to ourselves and our city. I want our school and our students to bring attention to inequality. It’s part of our mission and just one small way we can honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.