Student activists across North Shore come together for activist art showcase


Photo courtesy Liana Wallace

The Northshore Association of Student Activists board members, artists and guests pose for a picture. NASA held an event showcasing student activist art Sunday.

Savannah Kelley, Reporter

Students and community members gathered Sunday at Evanston SPACE to attend an art showcase organized by the newly-founded Northshore Association of Student Activists. The event showcased student artwork as well as singing, dancing and spoken word performances.

Liana Wallace, a founding member of NASA and a senior at Evanston Township High School, said the event was an example of how art can be an outlet “for students who are dealing with really hard stuff in their lives to share what they’re going through.”

The student performances focused on issues such as suicide, police brutality and gun violence, topics that NASA often interacts with. The organization’s mission is to unite “student activists across the Northshore in the pursuit of inter-school community building and fighting against physical, mental, racial and structural violence,” according to a flyer from the event.

ETHS sophomore Nikki LeVee choreographed a dance called “Thoughts and Prayers” in response to the lack of action taken to prevent gun violence.

“Thoughts and prayers show sympathy and are necessary at times, but they are not enough to bring back the lives that are lost due to gun violence,” LeVee said. “This choreography embodies the pain that victims and those around them have gone through and the hope that we must have for a better future.”

Beacon Academy junior Teagan Springer created a piece of artwork: a mirror with red wire that spells out “Female Does Not Equal Fragile.” Springer said she hopes people can see themselves reflected in her art, “and think about those messages of femininity and fragility that are everywhere.” In Springer’s mind, femininity should be associated with strength rather than weakness.

“Women are creators,” she said. “Every one of us came from a woman… thinking that that is fragile is so backwards, because women are strong.”

According to NASA member Isaac Slevin, a junior at ETHS, the main goal of the art showcase was to spread the word about NASA and show the community how the organization is working to create change and influence local policy.

One of NASA’s current goals is to work to ban the NRA Carry Guard program in the state of Illinois, Slevin said. This policy, which has already been banned in two other states, provides insurance for gun owners to cover civil and criminal legal fees related to gun violence. NASA has created a petition to ban Carry Guard, and the organization hopes to eventually send the petition to Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as well as Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

NASA has also recently begun protesting the construction of the Niles gun range, which is located less than a mile away from Niles West High School. Slevin said that it’s important for people to fight for issues impacting them at the local level.

“If we want to make change on a community level where we can really affect things, we have to advocate on our own level,” he said. “We have to advocate for our own lives, the lives of our friends and family and community members.”

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