Creative Producer Creating Change
Photo: Emmanuel Bansa ('13)
Jessica Estelle Huggins (BA '12) decided to create change after the murder of six-month old Jonalyn Watkins earlier this year. Huggins is the Creative Producer of
Chi~Voices: A Poetic Film Series, an
artistic conversational piece about the spectrum of violence beyond the physical that delves deep into one’s psyche. The series of vignettes tackles socioeconomic issues, broken homes, a shortsighted mentality, and the
absence of mature problem solving through the spoken word of Chicago poets that intertwine and highlight the recycled effects of violence.
“Columbia encourages artistic freedom with
reasoning and purpose. How the work that we, as artists, create is a reflection
of how our society is," shares Huggins when reflecting on how her education helped her create Chi-Voices. "I created Chi-Voices as an awareness element for how a
vast majority of people live in such stressful
situations. My creative team, all of the poets, as well as myself, are very much
about creating change for the betterment of humanity.”
Huggins continues, “The
choices and opportunities that our target audience has in light of the violence
in our lives is that with self-sufficiency and a bit of guidance, you can
change your current situation. You just have to believe and begin to work real hard to get where you want to be.”
BRIJFund: BridgingRelationships in Justice, a new L3C organization in Chicago, is partnering up with the
Chi-Voices project as the solution base. TeQuila Shabazz, the Founder of BRIJ
expresses her feelings about the partnership, "The partnership between
BRIJ and Chi-Voices is important because we promote the principles of
Awareness, Accountability, and Action. The goal is to get people active after receiving messages
inspiring them to want to get involved."
Chi-Voices is particularly
different from other awareness film pieces because it is directly connected
with an organization that is dedicated to downsizing the many cultural and economical
issues in our communities and serves as a catalyst for change.
Columbia alums and students that collaborated with Huggins include: Edye Deloch-Hughes (BA ’80) Poet
and Production Advisor, Sydney Corryn ( ’13) Outreach/Communications
Associate, Joy Heard (’13) spoken word poet and Jovan Leslie Monique (’14) who serves as the Director of Photography.
The Chi-Voices team is hoping to raise $7,000 solely
for production costs and to complete the project by May 2014.
Huggins envisions Chi-Voices making the
rounds to high schools, community centers, and jails. The goal is to
activate a shift in thinking.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter.