Eve Ewing Discusses Advocacy with Mikva Youth

This blog post is written by Nia McFall and Natalie Gastevich

Mikva alumna Eve Ewing met with the Chicago Housing Authority Council (CHA Council) and the Mayor’s Youth Commission (MYC) last week to talk about her perspective on youth voice and being an advocate for change. In high school, Eve was a part of the Youth Innovation Fund at Mikva, which was a group of students who deliberated on student-submitted ideas on community improvement and distributed grant money. Eve credits the program to introducing her to the idea of philanthropy and to young people that were outside of her neighborhood. Eve still “has a lot of love for Mikva” and strongly believes in the power and importance of youth voice.

In her time since Mikva, Eve has been an 8th grade teacher and then moved on to get her PhD in sociology, focusing on how systemic racism impacts American public schools. She has also maintained creative passions in writing, poetry and visual art.

Ewing met with the youth councils to bring her expertise to the respective council’s framing questions. Students from both councils asked questions regarding Eve’s perspective on how minority youth in the city of Chicago have been affected by lawmakers’ decisions and were able to share their own experiences with Eve.

MYC is currently focusing on the Mayor Emanuel’s “Learn.Plan.Succeed” post-high school graduation requirement and how to make it an actionable plan for every student. Based on MYC’s understanding that not every student currently has the same post-secondary opportunities, students asked Eve how she believes that systemic racism affects the distribution of resources. As a graduate of Northside College Prep, Eve acknowledged the millions of dollars of funding that were being put into selective enrollment schools during her high school years, while conversely there was a hunger strike in Little Village as the community fought to just have a proper neighborhood high school. Eve also addressed the unequal representation of Chicago students across selective enrollment schools: when Eve was a freshmen, 50% of Chicago was black, but only 7% of Northside was black. The “Learn. Plan. Succeed.” policy is only realistic for students with resources to make post-secondary plans and typically such resources are most easily available to non-minority students. Eve concluded that “they’re telling students to make a plan, without actually providing resources to make the plan.” There needs to be increased access to post-secondary resources for all CPS students in order for them to succeed.

Eve pointed out how institutions that were supposedly there for the improvement of the community have only been pushing people out of facilities that have been built. Strategies include cutting off resources resulting in “empty” units or schools, which CHA and CPS use as reasoning to close buildings or schools, yet they initiated the process of pushing residents and students out. These organizations aren’t working to try to provide opportunities for the citizens that they were created to protect, however Eve stated, “It is my responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society to care about all children, not just the ones with privilege.” Having someone such as Eve as an advocate, is what is going to provide opportunities for the future.

Finally, Eve spoke on the the careful balance of investing in communities in order to bring benefits to those already living there, but also ensuring that the development does not encroach on the community dynamic that has already been established. Eve explained that projects, such as President Obama’s library, must safeguard the community’s own infrastructure and guarantee certain benefits and rights to residents of the neighborhood. Thus, she stressed the importance of Community Benefits Agreements in preventing massive gentrification movements.

Even though Eve’s popularity has given her a strong enough voice to make an impact, she maintained that “for every person like (her) there’s 1000 other community leaders, 1000 other teachers, 1000 other students that have something to say.” This is why she is so committed to finding and listening to voices who are often quieted and excluded from important conversations, something that brings her back to the lessons that she learned at Mikva.

—–

Eve Louise Ewing is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. See her full bio here. 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Posted on August 7, 2017 in Mikva News

Mikva Challenge
View Author's Posts
  • Mikva News

    Stay up to date

    Read all the latest updates and sign up for the @mikvachallenge newsletter Sign Up
  • National News

    Mikva Challenge is now in LA and Washington, DC! Read about our national Action Civics work.
  • Mikva Alumni

    We have 65,000 alums doing amazing work. Read about how Mikva impacted their lives and what they’re up to now.
  • Political Transformation Series

    We believe there is a moment in people’s lives, often when they're young, that makes them excited and passionate about politics and their communities. Our Political Transformation Series is about capturing those moments and sharing them with the world to inspire more young people to follow that path.

    Email inquiries@mikvachallenge.org if you would like to share your transformative moment with us.
  • Tribute to Abner J. Mikva 1926-2016

    Judge Mikva and his wife Zoe founded the Mikva Challenge with the vision of involving city youth in politics and public service. In this section, we honor their life's work.

    View All

145

Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs

9,506

young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC

2,000+

Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle

1,684

students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season

6,900

students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects

69%

of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

88%

of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

66%

of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide

332 S Michigan Ave
Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 863-6340

Mikva Challenge DC
1220 L St NW, Suite 605
Washington, DC 20005
Action Civics LA
1000 N. Alameda Street
Suite 340
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-3248 Send us An Email
 

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest news and updates from Mikva Challenge

Center For Action Civics
Mikva Challenge
X

© 2017 - Mikva Challenge - Non Profit Web Design by Idea Marketing Group