Press Release


Join The Public Square for a special Café Society discussion in Austin.

CHICAGO – On May 2nd, Alex Arellano became the thirty-fourth Chicago Public School student to be killed in street violence. The startling number of students killed in Chicago this year has caused many to think about the systematic elements of urban violence and the complexities behind issues of prevention.

Join The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, for a discussion of street violence in Chicago from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15th at Ron’s Barber Shop (6058 W. North Ave.) in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. It is free and open to the public. The discussion will feature Alex Kotlowitz, acclaimed journalist and bestselling author of There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America and-most recently-Never A City So Real, a collection of contemporary stories from Chicago.

This gathering will also be recorded by Canal + Television for the Chicago episode of their documentary series Mégalopolis, which explores the culture of the world’s giant urban centers.

            This program is part of The Public Square’s Café Society program. Café Society fosters a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly conversations about contemporary social issues. The Public Square currently runs four Café Society sites in the Chicago area and one in Carbondale.

Café Society locations:


7:30-8:30 p.m., Intelligentsia Coffee, 3123 N. Broadway St., Chicago


12:30-1:30 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Street Café, 77 E. Randolph St., Chicago


7-8 p.m., Valois, 1518 E. 53rd St., Chicago

7:30-8:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1126 E. Walnut St., Carbondale, IL*

*Meets on the first Thursday of every month


5-6 p.m., Ron’s Barber Shop, 6058 W. North Ave., Chicago

For more information on Café Society, visit


The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social, and political issues with an emphasis on social justice. Programs promote participatory democracy by creating space for public conversations. More information about The Public Square is available at

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities.  Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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