Creating Opportunities for Chicago’s Youth

It’s a startling fact, but there are countless youth living on the West and South Sides of Chicago who have yet to see the lakefront. They have never experienced a cruise down Lake Shore Drive, visited the Willis Tower, or stepped foot inside the city’s world-class museums or art exhibits.

In response, Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) is looking forward to establishing partnerships with city institutions to create engaging learning experiences for disadvantaged youth. ZF’s U.S. Programs team recently met with Perri L. Irmer, President and CEO at the DuSable Museum of African American History, to discuss future plans that would include interactive workshops.

“The world is here,” said Irmer, a lifelong Hyde Park native, referring to Chicago’s expansive network of international connections.

Irmer’s vision is to introduce the neglected youth to the rich history, culture, and art of Chicago’s diverse communities. Museums such as the DuSable are ideal centers, particularly for black youth, because they present powerful narratives of the pan-African diaspora, including political mobilization and transnational solidarity.

“We have a moral imperative to teach,” Irmer said. “The antidote to ignorance and hate is learning.”

ZF is committed to building coalitions with excellent cultural centers such as the DuSable, and to introduce innovative educational programs to enrich the learning experience for Chicago’s youth