Press Release

New Discussion Series Launches With The Question: Can Digital Media Save Young People’s Lives

CHICAGO, IL- April 3, 2013— A new series of discussions in Chicago on the topic of media literacy will kick off this month, focusing on how new media technologies can transform the lives of young people here in Chicago. 

From the White House to the South Side of Chicago: Can Digital Media Save Young People’s Lives? will take place Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Experimental Station in Chicago. Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project and Biko Baker, Executive Director of the League of Young Voters will be among the panelists discussing how digital media can help combat violence and other social problems plaguing Chicago youth, and how these youth are already taking action via media spaces to organize and amplify their voices in their daily lives. 

The event is part of Media Matters, a new series of public conversations hosted by The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, taking place this spring that will seek to illuminate the power of media today and empower the public towards greater media literacy. Featuring journalists, community leaders, media scholars and activists, the series will explore the role of media in shaping informed communities and civic engagement. Other discussions are planned for June, September, and December of 2013. 

Cathy Cohen is a political science professor at the University of Chicago and author of two books: Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics and, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics. Cohen is principal investigator of two major projects: The Black Youth Project and the Mobilization, Change and Political and Civic Engagement Project. 

Robert “Biko” Baker is an organizer, journalist, activist, and scholar who currently serves as the Executive Director of the League of Young Voters in Milwaukee, WI. Baker developed the League of Young Voters training program, which prepares the next generation of activists to make long-term commitments to local organizing. Baker has served as the young voter organizer for the Brown and Black Presidential Forum, and was also the lead organizer for Slam Bush, a nationwide voter mobilization project using rap and poetry. 

The program is co-sponsored by The Black Youth Project, Chicago Votes, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC) at the University of Chicago, Community Media Workshop, Chicago Youth Voices Network, and WBEZ/Chicago Public Media. 

The series is made possible in part by the McCormick Foundation’s Why News Matters Initiative, a new grant making program designed to enhance news literacy skills and programs in Chicago.

From the White House to the South Side of Chicago: Can Digital Media Save Young People’s Lives?, will take place Saturday, April 20, 2013, 3-6pm at Experimental Station (6100 South Blackstone Avenue) in Chicago. The event will include an opening performance by hip hop artist FM Supreme, media action stations, and a post-program reception from 5-6pm. The event is free to the public, though reservations are required and can be made by emailing to, or visiting the IHC website, For more information on the event, please contact Alice Kim, Director of The Public Square, at (312) 422-5580, x238. 

About the Illinois Humanities Council  

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. 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.  

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233 

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