Harold Washington College Student President comments on new Citizen Leadership Center
“Being involved in local government is super important. I think students don’t realize the power that they have as individuals with their voice to be able to get involved with these issues and figure out a solution, and encourage their aldermen or their other leaders to be able to take action. …In high school College Prep, I think there was a big emphasis on social justice and getting involved in the community. I remember there was a student who was involved in getting students to get a college degree. And a lot of students were wondering, well, what does this have to do with me? I’m just 16, 18 years old right now, what does my voice matter? And it’s like, you’re the next generation of people who are going to solve the problems of this country and maybe even the world. Your voice does matter a lot. And I think it’s very important for kids to realize that they can have that power, that they do matter. I think with the launch of this Center, we’ll be able to get more understanding of that and more advocacy. Students will then realize that their voices will be heard and they’ll have the tools they need to be able to vote on these issues.”
-CAROLINA AGUILAR TORRES, PRESIDENT OF STUDENT GOVERNMENT
HAROLD WASHINGTON COLLEGE
On November 18, a new Citizen Leadership Center was launched by The Citizens Campaign and Harold Washington College in Chicago. Citizens Campaign member David Sherwin joined the president of Harold Washington, along with other college leaders and professors at the kick-off media conference. Anyone in the Chicago area can now take a free online video course in Leadership and No-Blame Problem Solving and earn a free certificate with Harold Washington’s logo. Students will learn No-Blame Problem Solving in courses on State and Local Government, the History of Chicago, and Business Leadership. Any trainee is eligible to join the National Citizen Leadership Service to put their new skills into action, and soon they will be able to join a Civic Trust on Harold Washington’s campus.
College leaders noted that it was especially appropriate that this Training Base was being established just in time for Harold Washington’s 100th birthday. Harold Washington was Chicago’s first Black mayor and made Chicago’s government more inclusive and equitable. The free course in Leadership and No-Blame Problem Solving will also empower citizens from many underserved communities in Chicago to participate directly in government problem-solving.