By Carolyn Talya Cakir
There is a still that settles around the room as people begin to create.
Surrounded by art created by sexual assault survivors, eight people sit at two fold-out tables in the center of The Awakenings Foundation art gallery in Ravenswood.
They are participating in Making Matters, an open art studio session for sexual assault survivors. The monthly event is a chance for those touched by sexual violence to come together and heal through creativity.
A joint effort between Rape Victims Advocates and Awakenings, Making Matters carves out a safe space for those affected by sexual assault.
“We started this group as a way to build community and solidarity around the issues of sexual violence,” says organizer Jordan Ferranto. “A place to kind of unwind, relax, enjoy each other’s’ company, make some art, and just kind of be present with each other.”
By Carolyn Talya Cakir
It’s 9 a.m. on a Saturday. Most young adults would be sleeping in, enjoying their weekend. Not the members of Pro-Life Future, who gathered outside Family Planning Associates Medical Group to protest abortion through song.
“Today, we’re Christmas caroling for babies,” says Pro-Life Future-Chicago leader Meghan Meehan.
Family Planning Associates is a reproductive health facility that performs abortions in Chicago’s West Loop.
Decked in Santa hats, the dozen or so anti-abortion activists sang popular holiday songs as a “reminder to abortion-bound mothers that the salvation of the world came through an unplanned pregnancy.”
“Why Christmas caroling? Cause it’s beautiful, it’s just happy and joyous,” says protester Meghan Meehan. “This is no one’s favorite place to be on a Saturday whether you’re in the clinic seeking treatment for an abortion or whether you’re an escort. But we bring joy.”
By Carolyn Cakir
Chicago is a mecca for comedy lovers and comedians. But many female comedians lament the fact that comedy is still very much a boys club, and they face gender discrimination at traditional open mic nights across the city.
Comedian Elyse Nylin decided to fight against that and created a females-only open mic night, aptly titled You Joke Like a Girl, in Wicker Park.
You can check out Nylin and her fellow funny girls the last Wednesday of each month at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Photo at top: Lauren Hooberman has the crowd laughing at the all-female open mic night at Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park. (Carolyn Cakir/MEDILL)