Diverse Communities United (DCU) is Y.O.U.'s annual celebration of peace, diversity, unity, leadership, and service help in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year's theme is "I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dreams."
The youth-led event will feature performances and artwork by youth from 11 schools across Evanston and Skokie who seek to realize Dr. King's vision today.
The event is FREE, family-friendly, and open to all ages. A community reception will be held in the lobby outside of the auditorium immediately following the program.
You can visit our Facebook event to learn more, and get updates about how our youth are preparing for the big day!
We look forward to seeing you there!
Diverse Communities United is a youth-led community event celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and vision for a peaceful, just and equitable world.
Over the past few months, we worked together to develop several parts of today’s celebration. We brainstormed a theme for this year, and we worked with staff to vote on a theme that strongly connected with us.
This year’s theme that we decided on is “I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.” This phrase is one of the countless statements that has inspired connectedness and responsibility to those who have fought, resisted, and persisted before us.
We chose this theme because we are working to be everything our ancestors would look up to and be proud of. We are on our way to achieve what our ancestors dreamed about, and we are here to show how we can change the world. Through this theme, we honor our ancestors and the people who came before us. We uplift the work that they have done to advance our journey towards freedom, and we continue on the path that they have laid foundations for.
All of the performers, artists, and stage assistants are involved in programs at Youth & Opportunity United. DCU is a unique opportunity for all of us to live out our values and show our friends and family the results of our hard work. Thank you again for celebrating with us today.
In peace and justice,
Autumn, Soleil, King, Jasmine, Michelle, Mia, Nia, Emma, Damien
An event of this size takes a village and we are fortunate to have an extraordinary group of volunteers helping to make DCU a success!
An extra special thanks goes to Susie McMonagle for her creative direction of the show. This is Susie’s 8th DCU and we are so thankful to have her working with us. Susie is a Broadway star who lives in Evanston and has given her time, talent, and kindness generously to ensure all our young performers reach their full potential. Her Broadway credits include Fantine in Les Misérables and she has toured nationally as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia!. We are truly fortunate to call her our coach here in Evanston.
Thanks to our elected officials, principals, teachers, and other community leaders.
We are grateful to Dance Is My Everything (DIME) and SOUL Creations for working with our youth on their DCU performances.
We thank Dance Is My Everything (D.I.M.E.) for its partnership to provide dance programming to youth across our sites. Youth at our Oakton Elementary and Old Orchard Junior High sites worked with D.I.M.E. to create an original dance piece for DCU which connects us to our elders and the future.
We also thank SOUL Creations for its partnership and support of Walker, Dawes, and Washington Elementary sites. SOUL Creations collaborated with our youth to create an African Drum and Circle ensemble together to recognize our ancestors’ wildest dreams.
We would also like to recognize Evanston Township High School for their generosity and use of their auditorium and staff to host the event itself. We also deeply appreciate School Districts 65, 68, 69, and 202 for their programmatic partnership and use of space for youth to practice for the event.
We will also be showcasing a pop-up art gallery featuring pieces by our youth across several sites.
These artworks embody this year’s theme, “I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams.” We are so proud of the artistic expression from the many artists in Y.O.U. programs, so we hope you can spend a few minutes in the lobby and hallway taking it all in before exiting.
This t-shirt design was created by the youth of our King Arts cartooning group, led by George Folz, a professional cartoonist and former Y.O.U. staff member.
George Folz is an Evanston native who worked for YOU from 2014-2017. Starting as a summer fellow at ETHS, he went on to serve two years as an AmeriCorps, and one year as a Youth Development Specialist at King Arts. Since leaving the organization, he has continued to be involved with his former students as a volunteer, and outside provider, facilitating various enrichment groups for both elementary and middle schoolers. Contracting for clients both locally and nationally as a cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic designer, George also draws commissions as a portrait artist, specializing in dogs and pets. He can be reached through email at email@example.com.
We leave you with this poem by Jason L. Moore, I’m My Ancestor’s Wildest Dreams