The goal of the National Youth Art Movement (NYAM) is to provide youth all across America in neighborhoods besieged by gun violence with an opportunity to make their mark on the issue by using their city as a blank canvas to communicate to the entire community the impact on their lives.
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Roadside memorials erected in the location of senseless deaths. Private grief on public streets. Flowers, teddy bears, coins -- mark the spot where loved ones took their last breath. We remain. In crisis. In shock. In fetal positions. Head to knees, so often we weep.
When do we acknowledge as proud Chicagoans that the numbers of those shot and dead that "live" on city papers belong to all of us? When do we admit that when one of us dies there is a ripple effect of sorrow? Whether it's in your family or mine.
The disparity between those who read the news reports of the shootings and those experiencing the loss can feel deep and wide, logistically though -- it is the difference of only a few city blocks. How can living in the same city feel worlds apart? And if Chicago is indeed a tale of two cities, one with increasing corporate growth and one with death tolls that rival war zones, how do we justify this?