This is all part of a bold experiment that began in September and was highlighted by a visit to the school by Damon, who came to observe, perhaps inspire and raise some money. He was only here for one day, but the project has continued in quiet fashion, culminating Thursday night at an event billed as "Englewood Speaks."
Damon is deeply committed to this effort, orchestrated by an organization called Voices of a People's History (peopleshistory.us), based on the work of author/activist/teacher Howard Zinn, in particular his influential book, 1980's "A People's History of the United States." This and many of his other books detail the country's history through the words of people one does not ordinarily encounter in conventional academic texts.
Some of those kids will be onstage Thursday night when "Englewood Speaks" happens at 6 p.m. The show takes place at the school, at 6201 S. Stewart Ave. It is free and open to the public.
"Yes, I have a career and a family, but this is such a real and important part of my life," Damon said. "It is bigger than me, bigger than all of us. Howard said, 'Democracy does not come from the top. It comes from the bottom.' My hope is that what we have started in Chicago will become a living thing."