Resilient Cities
S3 E4: Chicago - Artists Fighting Segregation

Chicago: Artists Fighting Segregation

Chicago is a city that ranks as one of the richest and most productive in the United States, yet it has a deeply segregated urban landscape and a high murder rate. In its south and west sides, impoverished housing blocks sit beside affluent homes, universities and city stadiums. The year 2016 was the city’s most violent in over two decades with a record of 762 homicides, an increase of 58 percent since 2015. The bulk of these shootings occurred in the south and west, areas that are predominantly poor and black, and whose murder rate is on par with some of the world’s most dangerous countries like Brazil and Venezuela.

Residents and community leaders are despairing over the violence and its normalization as a routine part of life, while city officials have responded with more police officers and law enforcement strategies.

But the city’s segregation has also birthed a diverse, politicized art scene. This episode will reveal characteristics of a U.S. city which are not frequently seen and will feature some of Chicago’s most talented young artists: Malcolm London, a rapper-­activist whose politically charged poetry speaks directly to the people of his community; Sam Kirk, a visual artist who uses her work to build links between segregated communities; Fawzia Mirza, a queer performer whose complex identities create new perspectives of the city; and The Era Footwork Crew, a footwork crew that is using dance to change stereotypical narratives about Chicago. Each in their own way is bringing hope to a place that has become synonymous with homicides and forging links between people amid the segregated landscape of the city.

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