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Invest in Shambhala Chicago's Youth!



Speak Up Chicago is youth-led program that allows youth and adults to express their creativity no matter what age, race, sex, sexual orientation, income level, or group one might identify with. The core group of youth who created and continue to run this monthly event wanted to create an event in which people could feel like they could be themselves, without the societal barriers of neighborhood boundaries, gang lines, racial divides, age separation, income levels, and all the other “lines” and “boundaries” that are so prevalent in Chicago. The core group of youth who run Speak Up Chicago are from very diverse backgrounds themselves, and from different neighborhoods, which in Chicago, tends to be very unusual.

Speak Up Chicago uses the fundamental principles of Shambhala in that it works to remove the separation that we create between each other. At Speak Up Chicago, the qualities of human bravery, kindness, and community manifest in the deepest ways. When you come to an event, a special atmosphere or “vibe” as the youth call it, is created.

Speak Up Chicago began with the inspiration of one young person, Joshua Beltran who Shambhala Chicago met during the Imagining Peace conference. Josh is from Humboldt Park, one of the communities in Chicago that is heavily impacted by gang lines, and regular occurrences of gun violence. Through Shambhala, Josh saw an opportunity to bring peace to his neighborhood. Speak Up has now grown into a larger group of 12, and keeps adding more youth. The group meets regularly for “family’ dinners, meetings, and other activities. Some of the youth have begun taking Shambhala classes here at the center.

Shambhala Chicago would like to send 6-8 youth to the Ziji Collective Summit which will be held at the Mexico City Shambhala. The Ziji summit will include young people between the ages of 18-29 from other Shambhala centers. We estimate it will cost between $600-$800 per youth, which includes air fare, lodging, program price, and food. In addition to the Ziji Summit, we also would like to raise money to other events that we are planning over the summer, such as an in-house youth retreat, scheduled for May 3, a Windhorse retreat, and costs that we incur for Speak Up Chicago in general. Speak Up also plans to bring the open mic nights to various neighborhoods in Chicago, to continue to share the message of peace, and Shambhala.



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