Northside’s Belief Day
by Osazee Osaghae
Northside College Prep had its first all school colloquium of this school year on Wednesday, Jan. 24. The colloquium was divided into two portions. The first half of the day consisted of two presentations from guest speakers and the second half of the day included a screening of a recently released documentary by Ai Weiwei titled “Human Flow.”
The first speaker was Dr. Eve Ewing, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. She is a poet, visual artist, essayist, scholar, and NCP alumna. During her presentation, Ewing shared many poems talking about her life growing up in Chicago, the good times, the struggles, and everything in between. She recounted her experience of being a black women in a white America and suggests the idea that race does not define one's identity. “The words and actions one person commits to is what you are judged and identified by,” Ewing said. Ewing’s poems hit hard and captured the hearts of many Northside students who could relate to what she shared about her life. Gabriel Vara, Adv. 900 said, “I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard from her.”
The second speaker was Christian Picciolini, a reformed white supremacist leader who has dedicated the past twenty years of his life and work making up for his previous transgressions, and transforming the hurts and wounds he inflicted upon others into vehicles for profound healing. He has made many appearances on news stations and television shows such as “60 Minutes,” “Face the Nation,” and CNN Newsroom. During his presentation, Picciolini explained how, as a child, he was taught racism. When he was a young, Picciolini was “lost and lonely,” struggling to find himself until he was recruited by a white nationalist group. From that point on, Picciolini lived under the assumption that white power as his only way of life. Picciolini openly stated that he used to hate people who were different from him, ranging from Jewish people to African American people, and others as well. Once Picciolini turned sixteen, he became the leader of a white supremacist group called Chicago Area Skinheads. Picciolini was a white supremacist supporter for about eight years and was a strong supporter until he had a realization and newfound change of heart. This change happened after the birth of his first child. Ever since then, Picciolini has spent over two decades making up for all the harm he has caused. His story really moved a lot of students.
The second half of colloquium took place after lunch. Students attended a screening of “Human Flow,” a documentary directed by the contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei. Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Over the course of one year and in 23 countries, Weiwei followed a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq.
The all school colloquium was a successful event, as many students left the day thinking critically about what they heard. Kenny Larson, Adv. 902, stated, “It was a really awe-inspiring event. I feel like the all school colloquium gave me the ability to expand my emotional character and growth.”