Past Event

Our Community–how it's changed, how it's changing

How should public schools change alongside the neighborhoods they serve?

In this free, interactive program, we’ll talk about how demographic shifts impact both the content and quality of public education – asking if all students in schools with diverse student bodies are receiving the same quality of education.

Simone Ispa-Landa (Northwestern University) will be joined by Alden Loury (Metropolitan Planning Council), the Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity (FYSH) student group, and Jiawei Huang (student at Kelly High School) in this interactive program to discuss demographic change at Senn High School – featuring a presentation by Senn’s journalism group.

This event is a partnership between Illinois Humanities, Bending the Arc: The Robert Howard Annual Symposium, and Crossroads Fund.

More on the participants:

Simone Ispa-Landa’s research examines the processes that reproduce and magnify social exclusion, as well as the ways in which subordinate individuals and groups make sense of, and seek to combat, disadvantaged statuses. Much of her work investigates how people in stigmatized communities understand dominant ideologies. She has studied these topics within the context of an urban-to-suburban racial integration program and an organization that offers legal services to those with criminal record histories.

Drawing on qualitative research methods, Dr. Ispa-Landa has analyzed how race and gender hierarchies constrain Black adolescents’ social roles within affluent, majority-White suburban schools and Black adolescents’ interpretations of the socialization processes within their families. Capitalizing on a comparative research design, she has also pinpointed several factors that prompt Black students to classify schools as “White” or “Black” spaces. Other work investigates the power of the visible criminal record to damage ex-arrestees, regardless of whether they have experienced extensive or minor criminal justice contact. In a related project, she identifies the emotion management techniques that individuals use to cope with the collateral consequences of their past criminal justice contact.


Alden Loury is director of research and evaluation for the Metropolitan Planning Council, which brings together businesses, community groups and local governments to address the region’s planning and development challenges. Prior to joining MPC in May of this year, Alden was an investigative reporter and policy analyst with the Better Government Association and reporter, editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter. MPC and the NY-based Urban Institute are working on an ambitious 2-year initiative gauging the cost of segregation to the Chicago region, including its impact on education.


The Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity (FYSH) is a social justice youth council consisting of high school and college students aim to create systemic change to better the lives of the most vulnerable people in their community. FYSH’s focus is fighting for immigrant rights through education, organizing, advocacy, empowerment, and art. They develop their voices through education, critical analysis, and shared vision. They make their voices heard by developing and leading campaigns, to mobilize young people to take collective action, educate legislators and hold them accountable, to share experiences and knowledge, to fight and shout out for humanity.


Jiawei Huang is a junior at Kelly High School in the Brighton Park neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. Originally from Guangzhou, China, he moved to Chicago with his mother in 2008. He is in Kelly’s International Baccalaureate program and is president of the school’s Tech Club.


More on Continuing Ed.: Parents and the Future of Illinois Public Schools

Continuing Ed. is a yearlong, statewide series working with parents, schools, and communities across the state – in Chicago, Decatur, Elgin, and Jackson County to move the conversation about public education back to parents. All Chicago events will be moderated by Laura Washington (Chicago Sun-Times). For the complete schedule and more information, see

If you require a sign interpreter or any other arrangements to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event. For more information, please call (312) 422-5580.