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Creative Producer Creating Change

Photo: Emmanuel Bansa ('13)
CA+S alum 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.

The Chi-Voices team is currently running a kickstarter campaign to raise the final production funds necessary to complete the project by Fall 2014.

Huggins sat down to discuss the project with Scarlet Bodega. “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.

Huggins envisions Chi-Voices making the rounds to high schools, community centers, and jails. The goal is to activate a shift in thinking.
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