Young Chicagoans are using this school bus to mobilize voters and raise awareness

alt text By Pat Nabong, Reporter, The Real Chi

Students are helping voters take the wheel of Chicago’s local election by driving around in a school bus they designed and refurbished.

At polling places and schools they visited, students and community organizers from Brighton Park Neighborhood Council distributed voting guides that spelled out the platforms of every mayoral candidate, and led people through a makeshift gallery that explained issues related to immigration, mental health clinic closures, affordable housing and the planned cop academy. Brighton Park Neighborhood Council is an organization on the southwest side that provides community-based services and focuses its work on education, immigration, healthcare, and violence prevention,

“We were thinking about the upcoming elections and how we wanted to educate voters and mobilize particularly youth voters not around candidates but around issues that we care about,” said Olivia Abrecht, 25, an organizer of Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.

The bus is not only a vehicle for raising awareness. As an interactive space, visitors can hop onto the bus and record what they want to say to the next mayor. It is also a mobile vision board; people can write their demands to the next mayor on the windows or on the hood of the bus.

The bus’ journey doesn’t end when elections are over, Abrecht said.

“After the elections, we’re really hoping that whoever the next mayor is, that this bus is able to continue pushing forward the platform that they’ve hopefully committed to and helping to make those policies actually put into law,” Abrecht said.

The Reimagine School Bus will be at Curie Metro High School (4959 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60632) on Monday, February 25, 2019.