Get Involved

As you’ve no doubt already read, Project NIA and the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective have developed a series of pamphlets about historical moments of policing and violence. This was a completely volunteer-run project. Our volunteers researched, wrote, and designed these publications and we will be releasing them throughout this year.

Our goal with this project is to inform and educate the broader public about the longstanding tradition of oppressive policing toward marginalized populations (including some activists and organizers). The pamphlets were created to be youth-friendly.

This idea is inspired by the many pamphlets (precursors to today’s zines) that circulated in the U.S. & in the developing world during the 1950s and 60s in particular. W.E.B. DuBois, CLR James and many other luminaries published short 10 to 30 page pamphlets about different political ideas and historical figures that would sell for as little as 15 or 25 cents. Many were also distributed free of charge. These were produced by companies like International Publishers out of New York or associations like the Afro-American Heritage Association here in Chicago. We have tried, in our way, to revive this idea for the 21st century.

We recognize that it is important not to confine learning to classrooms and facilitated spaces. Our pamphlets are made available free of charge online and we hope to print a limited number of copies that can be mailed to currently incarcerated youth and adults.

Our first round was so successful that we have decided to continue with the project. There are a number of potential topics that might be explored. Here is a partial list:

1. The Assassination of Fred Hampton
2. Stonewall Riot
3. SB1070 “papers please” Law in Arizona
4. Sean Bell (NYC)
5. Rodney King (L.A.)
6. Amadou Diallo (NYC)
8. Abner Louima (NYC)
9. Black Panther Party and Cointelpro
10. MOVE Bombing (Philadelphia)
11. Aiyanna Jones (Detroit)
12. Ryan Harris Case (Chicago)
13. Englewood Four (Chicago)
14. Selma March (1965 – Edmund Pettis Bridge Incident)
15. Dhoruba Bin Wahad (NYC)
16. George Whitmore (NYC)
17. Rekia Boyd
17. Add your own ideas…

How can you get involved in the project? Below are some ways:

1. Do you want to write a pamphlet?
2. Are you willing to edit pamphlets?
3. Do you have graphic design skills? Volunteer to layout and design pamphlets.
4. Are you a visual artist? How about contributing some of your talents to creating art for pamphlets.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Mariame at projectnia@hotmail.com or leave a note in the comment box below. Thanks!

Here are the parameters for the project:

1. Written contributions should be no more than 20 typed double-spaced pages (12 pt Times Roman font) including all references (works cited) and suggested resources. Shorter is better.
2. All contributions should address the following questions:
a. What happened? What’s the story?
b. Who are/were the key players?
c. What was the public response/reaction to the incident/story?
d. Who won? Who lost?
e. How does the idea of oppression manifest in this story?
f. How/Why is this relevant today?
3. All contributions should include references (works cited). Even though we are writing with a point of view, we want these pamphlets to be well-researched.
4. All contributions should include a list of resources for further study: books to read if you want to know more, useful articles, films about the incident (if applicable), songs/poems/artifacts that are relevant (if applicable).
5. If you find relevant primary materials that you would like to include, please do so. Primary materials can include copies of maps, posters, sections from FBI files, demands, testimony, etc…
6. All contributions should include up to 5 discussion questions that you want the reader to be able to answer after reading your story (required). If you would like to come up with activities for educators/facilitators to do with students or workshop participants too, feel free to add those (not required).
7. Also, if you have any artistic skills at all, feel free to be creative with this. Your stories can include illustrations or other types of art. Feel free to experiment.
8. Contributions should avoid the use of jargon or words that are not easily understood by a broad audience. A good way to gauge this is whether your contribution can be read and digested by a middle-school student (7th or 8th grade).
9. The idea is to convey your story in an engaging and accessible way that would make someone want to read more about it. You do not have to share every single detail about your topic/subject. This is not intended to be a Wikipedia entry so feel free to write a narrative while making sure to provide a critical analysis for what you are sharing.
10. These pamphlets should be youth-friendly.

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