Downtown Chicago Event
8/29/2009 12:00 AM
By Altamash Iftikhar
So today was our first volunteering event in downtown Chicago. We had about 10 volunteers show up and we hit the streets (State St. and Michigan Ave. to be exact) with 2,000 fliers. The fliers had statistics on them (i.e. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, more than 3 women and 1 man are killed as a result of domestic violence every day, etc…) with the words “don’t become another statistic” and the website (http://www.i-appreciate.org) on the bottom of the flier.
First of all, I want to thank each volunteer that made it out and helped spread the word today. We definitely reached a ton of people and we all had some pretty deep and insightful conversations with people. I had a lot of people asking about the shirt and just asking about the organization in general, but I wanted to reflect on two special encounters that I had today.
The first instance was on State St. when I was passing fliers out. As I said before, each flier had a statistic on it and the web address. As I was handing them out, an African American man came back and stopped me and repeated the stat on his card to me. I said yeah and he said “that’s a hell of a statistic”. And walked away looking pretty upset. I believe the statistic was 1 in 5 teenage girls are abused by their partner. And that is a “hell of a statistic.” It’s a scary statistic and it is the sincere hope of i-appreciate.org that we either help to educate the youth more so to minimize such horrifying numbers, or that we do everything in our power to help empower victims to these acts…
The second instance impacted me tremendously. As I made my way to Michigan Ave. I met this young lady with kids and began talking to her about what i-appreciate.org is all about. She smiled and put her hand on my shoulder and told me that this was great work and that she would definitely buy a shirt. She got a little emotional but was being strong in front of her kids and said to me “my sister was murdered three years ago…” and didn’t need to end that sentence. She didn’t need to finish the rest. We need to put an end to this. We need to come together and fight for good and fight against evil. We need to put aside our differences whether they be religious or cultural and unite for a good cause. As my man Brother Ali says in his new album, there’s no me and no you it’s just us…
I met some really other interesting people while passing these things out (and was even interviewed by a group of high school girls for a project they were doing–big ups to Stagg High School and I hope you get an A on your project Jessica!) not to mention meeting the famous New York rapper Jadakiss after the whole thing was over. All in all things went well and I look forward to working with you all in the future to help make a difference in the lives of many…