We Are In This Together
June 2016 Recap!
We are coming to the end of the first month of summer, and even though it went by too fast, we kept pretty busy! From the first few stops of Warped Tour, to having Levi the Poet stop by our offices, to hearing you guys bravely share your personal stories, it was awesome seeing all the different forms that self-expression can take. There were also more than a fair share of difficult times, including the horrifying tragedy of the Orlando shooting and the death of beloved singer, Christina Grimmie. Yet, even in the darkest moments, there is still inspiration to be found in the bravery and compassion of those who fight for justice and lead important conversations that make the world a little bit brighter.
First Week on Warped Tour
We've already hit the first few stops of Warped Tour and we're so excited for the rest of the summer! So far, we've been to Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and New Orleans, seen some awesome performances, and talked to everyone who took a minute to stop by our tent. Hopefully, everyone who came to our booth or saw us speak on stage heard our message that It's Okay Not To Be Okay. We'll be on the tour for the rest of the stops as well, so we hope to see all of you guys there!
Levi The Poet
We were beyond excited to have Levi the Poet stop by our office on June 25th as part of his Don't Sink Tour Ch. 3! Levi's powerful spoken word, multimedia-driven performance exemplified how self-expression can come in a variety, or in this case a combination, of forms. It was also so great to have you guys stop by the office and show your support! Thanks again to Levi the Poet, Itohan Omolere, and Safe Bet for giving an awesome performance!
A New Platform for Self-expression
By Priten Vora
When people think of mediums for self-expression, video games are unlikely to come to mind. However, as Priten Vora explains, video games are unique in their ability to provide opportunities for both the creator and the audience to express themselves. The act of making a character and guiding it through a series of challenges and choices requires a lot of creativity. Rather than isolating Vora from the real world, video games provided a means for him to connect with other people, relieve social anxiety, and gain a sense of agency over his life.
T0 read Priten's inspiring essay, click here.
Celebrating the Life of Christina Grimmie
We were all shocked and saddened by the death of singer and songwriter Christina Grimmie, who passed away from a gunshot wound on June 11th. Grimmie, who got her start singing cover songs on YouTube, was known for her success on The Voice, where she finished in third place at the end of Season 6. She was also known, by her family, friends, and fans alike, as a kind soul who wanted to make music for the world to enjoy and to inspire others to pursue their own dreams.
Her heartbreaking death at the age of 22 has put many at a loss for words, as they are faced with the seemingly impossible task of coping with this traumatic loss. However, in the wake of such a tragedy, it is more important than ever that we do not remain silent. Grieving for a life cut short is never easy, but the key to eventual healing is being able to talk through your thoughts and feelings. There is nothing shameful about asking for help, and we hope that all of you are able to find the support you need to get through this trying time.
Although her life was tragically cut short, Grimmie was able to accomplish amazing things with the time she had. Her songs and inspiring journey into the music industry captured the hearts of many, and she had big plans to create more original music in the future.As a memorial video created by Grimmie's family says, "Christina Grimmie was taken from all of us far too soon, but the impact she had on this world in the short 22 years of her life will carry on forever".
Our friends at Big City Thoughts ezine talked with Christina just a few months ago, and the article now serves as a tribute to her life and success.
To read the article click here.
Pride Month 2016
As LGBT Pride Month draws to a close, we want to take a moment to recognize the incredible resilience of the LGBTQ community throughout this difficult year. In spite of lawmakers who continually try to keep trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, in spite of the horrifying act of violence that took the lives of 49 patrons in the Pulse nightclub, and in spite of the day-to-day prejudice expressed by family, coworkers, peers, and strangers, LGBTQ folks continue to live bravely and speak out for equality. It was so great to see everyone who came to the Chicago Pride parade to prove that hope and love are stronger than fear.
For those struggling with mental health, The Trevor Project provides a national, 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide hotline specifically for LGBTQ youth at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project also provides an online chat and confidential text messaging—text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200. Remember that it's okay not to be okay, and that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you are struggling.
Dark Matter Coffee Block Party
The annual Dark Matter Coffee Block Party is coming up, so if you're going to be in town on July 9th, come check it out! There'll be a bunch of awesome performances from Chicago-based acts like Yakuza, Hood Internet, and Showyousuck. The fun starts at noon and can be found on Maplewood Ave., between Chicago Ave. and Iowa St. All the proceeds will help us start the conversation about suicide and mental health, and let people know that It's Okay Not To Be Okay.