Recovering from the Global Activism Expo
In addition to my work with the insanity known to the world as Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! I also work on the Chicago Public Radio Presents... Live Event Series. This past weekend, we held our 2nd Annual Global Activism Expo and showcased 71 organizations that have been featured on Worldview in the past three years that give back to the planet's population in ways that are startling and astounding.
A Night of Heavy Lifting and Eating Chow Friday afternoon I swung over to the Physical Education Complex of Northeastern Illinois University to get things set up with some of my trustee volunteer staff.‚ We spent an hour setting up over 120 six-foot tables and 300 folding chairs in anticipation of our many activists, food vendors, bands and poets, and sponsors. The activists began arriving and setting up their stations and then we had a fine meal of Indian and African cuisine while people from all over the world networked and laughed and got prepared for the next day.
"How many people are you expecting," asked one of the volunteers. "Well - last year we had around 900 come out on a Wednesday night with no parking and a ten dollar admission fee.‚ Tomorrow is a Saturday, free parking and no admission fee.‚ Double?" I replied. Non-stop Worldview Listeners Saturday arrived and from the minute we opened the doors (noon) until we shut the thing down (6:00PM) there was a constant and steady stream of people looking for Jerome McDonnell, going to the multiple breakout sessions, eating the food, listening to the music and poetry, and learning about many of the most giving people congregated under one roof. Jerome tie-dyed a huge banner to greet them...
...and spoke to so many people and had so many pictures taken that by day's end, he looked like he'd been bludgeoned.‚ But in a good way. Over 200 activists representing 71 organizations set up in the NEIU gymnasium; six local restaurants arranged food for 2,000 -- 2,500 people at low cost; 42 volunteers showed up and worked all day; both our Membership team and members of our CAC were on hand to talk to people coming to the event. Best (and I think conservative) estimate? From noon to 6PM we had roughly 3,250 listeners stream in, have conversations, listen to music and poetry, eat fantastic food and participate in our Expo.
It was extraordinary.‚ Hats off to all who helped organize and came out to west Foster Avenue. Our next CPRPresents... event can be found here. Rock on! Don