The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Student Voices Contest, and honor the countless number of lives lost to gun violence by featuring decades of student artwork, poetry and essays calling for an end to gunfire alongside the innovative and powerful Unforgotten exhibit at ART WORKS Projects.Â The exhibition is called â€œVoices of the Unforgottenâ€.
The Unforgotten, created by ICHV and Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), is a visually jarring installation and campaign against gun violence that features eight life-like statues of Illinois victims of gun violence that were created by working closely with each of their families. Dressed in the victimsâ€™ personal clothing, they represent the images of their fallen loved ones.Â Each statue serves as an emotional and powerful reminder of the senseless loss of life due to gun violence.Â The campaign also includes a website () featuring the stories of victimsâ€™ families, providing a place for people to learn more and find opportunities to join the fight against gun violence.
â€œIllinois loses an average of 1,000 lives every year to gun violenceâ€¦. And this 20-year milestone of our program represents an unthinkably tragic toll for families and communities that have lost love ones in the crossfire. Â Looking back at all of the artwork, poetry and essays of our students for two decades –Â as well as the stories behind the eight victims featured in the Unforgotten — profoundly represents an entire generation of young people forever impacted by gun violence, each calling upon our society to take action to protect them,â€ said ICHV Executive Director Colleen Daley.Â
â€œWe simply hope that this exhibit will inspire everyone to take pause, think about the precious consequences of inaction â€“ and do something about it.Â This is a public health and safety problem that we can solve. We know that easy access to guns fuels gun violence. Stronger gun laws will help keep guns out of the wrong hands,â€ Daley added.Â
ART WORKS Projects has built a powerful exhibition that will feature twenty years of winning artwork, poetry and essays from the Student Voices contest alongside the Unforgotten sculptures.Â Winning students, family members of the eight featured victims, and leading gun safety advocates will be present to not only celebrate empowering the next generation of young people to fight gun violence, but to honor the memory of each victim by inspiring others to take action. All will make the plea to elected officials, communities and the media to fight for common sense gun laws.Â
â€œShootings have become so commonplace in our communities that victims’ lives are being reduced to statistics and “weekend death counts” in the media — making it easy for the public to detach from the frightening reality of what is really happening all across this country. People need to remember that each of those shooting victims have a name, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, someone who loves them — someone whose life has been forever changed because of that tragedy. Â My sonâ€™s name was Tommy, and he was killed 23 years ago.Â Ever since then, I have honored his memory by fighting to save the next young life, and hope that others will be inspired by this exhibit to do the same,â€ said Tom VandenBerk whose son is one of the victims represented in the Unforgotten campaign.
ICHV will host a fundraising event on Tuesday, September 15th at ART WORKS Project (625 N. Kingsbury) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.Â Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at ichv.org.Â
ART WORKS Projects will also host their first 625 AT 6:25 community conversation of the 2015-2016 season to hear Chicago experts discuss the scope, causes, and potential solutions to gun violence in Chicago and beyond.Â The event is on September 23rd at ART WORKS Project from 6:25pm â€“ 9pm and is free and open to the public.Â
Roseanna Ander, Executive Director, UChicago Crime Lab and Education Lab / Senior Director, UChicago Urban Labs
Colleen Daley, Executive Director, Illinois Council against Handgun Violence
Evelyn Diaz, President, Heartland Alliance
Cody Stephens, Discussion moderator, Doctoral Candidate in Criminal Justice, UIC
About The Illinois Council against Handgun Violence
ICHV is the oldest and largest statewide organization in the US working to prevent the devastation caused by firearms. Founded in 1975 by four suburban Chicago women concerned about the tragic consequences of handgun proliferation and availability, ICHV works on a variety of fronts to educate, raise public awareness, and build coalitions to enact change in laws and behavior. For 40 years, ICHV has been a leader among state gun violence prevention groups. For more information, please visit ichv.org.
About ART WORKS Projects
ART WORKS Projectsâ€™ mission is to use design and the arts to raise awareness of and educate the public about significant human rights issues. We provide visual advocacy tools to encourage action on human rights crises at the grassroots, media, and policy levels. Conceptualized and created in conjunction with established humanitarian and human rights advocacy organizations, ART WORKSâ€™ art and design exhibitions, books, recordings, films, and other initiatives provide opportunities for large numbers of the general population to engage in ending major human rights violations. To learn more about ART WORKS, visit artworksprojects.org, â€œlikeâ€ us at Facebok.com/ArtWorksProjects, follow us on Twitter via @ARTWORKSProject or on Instagram @ARTWORKSProjects.
FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, fully integrated marketing communications company focused on changing consumer behavior for the benefit of clients, colleagues and communities. With more than 8,000 people from 120 offices in 80 countries, the network brings strong understanding of local markets and cultures while continuing a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. FCB is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG).
For more information, please visit www.FCB.com, â€œlikeâ€ us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.