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Lend Your Voice Against Violence with 'Uproar Chicago' Audio Project

By Casey Cora | February 15, 2013 10:08am
 Uproar Chicago gives Chicagoans a chance to voice their thoughts on the city's violence.
Uproar Chicago gives Chicagoans a chance to voice their thoughts on the city's violence.
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Uproar Chicago

CHICAGO — Think you can sum up your feelings about the city’s violence in one sentence?

The organizers of a new social media campaign want you to give it a shot.

Called Uproar Chicago, the movement's goal is to bring together the frustrations and hopes of Chicagoans, using a central hotline to collect their feedback. Here’s how it works:

Participants can call (872) 216-1735 and record a one-sentence message. The clips will then be assembled into an audio collage to be shared on a website next month. The hotline closes Sunday.

Together, the voices of everyday people will be a verbal tapestry highlighting the frustrations and hopes of a city racked by violence, from high-profile shootings to lesser-seen domestic and sexual crimes.

“There has been a lot of conversations about violence, and the fact is a lot of people have feelings about it and it can be overwhelming. We wanted to provide an opportunity to speak out and to offer a chance for a small catharsis,” said Sharmili Majmudar, a project co-founder who leads Rape Victim Advocates, a downtown-based resource agency for victims of sexual violence.

To help with the campaign, Majmudar and Mariame Kaba are using Thunderclap, a free online "crowdspeak" service, to promote the hotline through social media. Once a critical mass of support is reached — in this case at least 100 people who've allowed their accounts to post Uproar's message — Thunderclap blasts it out on their behalf, maximizing its social reach.

So far, a message with the #UproarChicago hashtag is on pace to reach more than 63,000 social accounts.

“I've been seeing posts on social media among my friends about violence, that there's no real space for them to talk about what's going on. Short of getting together in small groups and sharing our feelings, there's no place for people to get together," said Kaba, director of the Rogers Park-based Project Nia, which aims to end youth incarceration through various empowerment programs.

"We want to put the voices of so many people together to create an uproar about violence in the city of Chicago."