Education and Youth Editor, The Real Chi
Arlana is a proud Namibian who moved to the United States to pursue her higher education in media. She graduated from Ithaca College, NY with a BA degree in journalism, with minors in writing and economics.
With her journalism, she focuses on issues of development economics and civic engagement. At Free Spirit Media, Arlana is the education and youth development editor for The Real Chi, which entails covering stories in the West and South side neighborhoods of Chicago that focus on schools, community action, and youth engagement, activism, and access.
In this role, she aims to amplify the voices of communities whose stories are ignored and exacerbated by oppressive and systemic social and economic structures. She focuses on sociopolitical themes encompassing identity, culture, and society; and is passionate about the story in all things. She wants her work to have the impact of inclusion and visibility— work that speaks to the people it speaks of, accurately, fairly and passionately.
Her mediums of creative expression include photography, visual storytelling, and creative writing. In her free time, she’s either writing poetry, sketching, scrapbooking, gardening or binge-watching TV series. "
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On July 31, their attorneys from Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the Legal Assistance Foundation filed a preliminary injunction in the circuit court against CPS to halt its plans to close National Teacher’s Academy.
VIDEO: On June 28, the Chicago Urban League hosted their first inaugural educational forum. “The Stories We Tell: A Forum on African-American Narratives” was geared towards their Race and Equity Initiative.
Late last week, parents of the National Teachers’ Academy Elementary School officially filed a complaint against Chicago Public Schools’ Board of Education on counts of violating the Civil Rights Act and the Illinois School Code in an unprecedented decision to close a Level 1+ performing school.
PODCAST: In this premiere episode of the Real Chi’s podcast, we dive deeper into the conversation on the disparity South side students face in education, discipline and all around love from their city.
PHOTO ESSAY: On April 20th, students around the nation staged School Walkouts to protest against gun violence and for increased gun control. They chose April 20th because it marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting massacre of 1999.
As the dust settles on last week’s National School Walkout, youth activists have been praised and sanctioned by the public for their civic participation. However, in Chicago not all students have been treated equally, with many from majority black and brown schools facing heavy scrutiny from school administrators.
VIDEO: On March 14, students nationwide walked out of their schools to stand in solidarity with Stoneman Douglas High School students in a symbolic protest for stricter gun laws in light of the Parkland, FL shooting that happened a month ago.
VIDEO: On Feb. 28, students, parents, teachers, organizers and concerned community members filled the Chicago Public School’s downtown office as the board was scheduled to take their final vote on the closure of four South Side high schools and an elementary school.
VIDEO: On Feb. 20, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) and sponsors hosted a Title IX townhall at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
At the third and final public hearing on the closure of four Englewood neighborhood high schools, a Harper High School student asked the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education: “What are you so intimidated of? Is it the way we walk? Is it the way we talk? Is it the fact that we are going to fight for something you didn’t think we were going to fight for?”
RECAP: Chicago Community Trust President and CEO, Helene Gale, and COO, Andrea Sanchez, joined us at The Nichols Tower in Homan Square to have a conversation with local leaders about the North Lawndale community.
PHOTOS: On Saturday, April 21, Free Spirit Media and WTTW hosted a screening and panel discussion at the Chicago Cultural Center. The selected pieces were documentaries and one narrative film that cover youth responses to gun violence.