Chris, Aidan, and I went down to the UIC Forum back on April 28 (when I started writing this brief post) to take in the 2012 Global Activism Expo sponsored by Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ). It was an amazing event. We spent five hours there checking out nearly a hundred local non-profits, enjoying world music, eating gourmet vegan food, and taking in a couple of short lectures–all for free. It was such a great time that I can’t believe we didn’t check it out until this year. Bike Power Aidan gives a bike powered generator a try at the Working Bikes exhibit during the Global Activism Expo. That's Mona Purdy from Share Your Soles on the bike next to him.

 Global Activism via Bike Power

Having so much positive energy in one place was really inspiring. We met a lot of great people and learned about many activist and charity organizations working to make our world a better place. When we got there we met our friend Mona from the Share Your Soles Foundation who has been changing people’s lives through shoes. Her organization has delivered over 1.5 million pairs of shoes to desperately impoverished people over the past 13 years. (Believe it or not, something as simple as shoes can make the difference between living and dying in many places of our world.) Mona is a force of kindness to be reckoned with. She’s well known in the community of organizations that were present at the expo, so she introduced us around. The conversations were good, and we made many contacts.

It was a great opportunity not just to find other ways for our family to get involved in these important causes, but also personally helpful to me as I am continuing to find opportunities for my students to get involved in activism/service-learning efforts happening in our communities. It’s so easy to get pulled down to a pit of negativity–or indifference–feeling the suffocating weight of all the problems in the world. Our time at the Global Activism Expo reminded me that there is hope, that there are people who really care and are acting to make positive changes, that our world is not as lost as it so often seems.