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The Gun Violence Memorial Project

Designed by the studio that created the stunning The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, which Dear Evanston visited in September 2019.

"Spacializing Memory: The Gun Violence Memorial Project," a new installation sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), opens tomorrow at the Chicago Cultural Center.

This Saturday, September 21, CAC will host a lecture by Jha D. Williams, senior associate at MASS Design Group, the studio that created this Memorial and the stunning The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

The lecture begins at 1:30 p.m. and takes place at CAC's Gand Lecture Hall, 111 E. Wacker Dr. It’s then a two-block walk to the. Ultralight Canter to see the exhibit.

Tickets are $15 each.

The Memorial Project exhibit is on display as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial and will run through January 2020.

The memorial includes objects donated by people who have lost children or other family members to gun violence that represent the loved one they lost.

Israel Aragon and his wife Irma found their son's list of life goals tucked in his bible. That list and his headphones fill a glass brick in The Gun Violence Memorial Project. Their son Israel Aragon Jr. was killed nearly three years ago.

"They deserve to be here and now we are their voices," Irma Aragon told Chicago's Channel 7 last month.

Installation designer Williams was born and raised in Boston, MA. She's a first-generation college graduate and received her B.S. in Architecture from Northeastern University and her Masters in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to being an architect, Williams is an activist and spoken word artist. She co-hosts a monthly open mic called "If you can Feel it, you can Speak it."

As a designer, Williams urges that design and the built environment are vehicles for equity, justice and social change. She joined MASS Design Group because, as a mission-driven non-profit architecture organization, MASS believes that architecture is a mechanism that projects its values far beyond a building’s walls and into the lives of communities and people and that buildings and the industry that erects them are as accountable for social injustices as they are critical levers to improve the communities they serve.

"I came to MASS because I wanted the conversations about the social impact of the built environment to be a constant in my design work, as opposed to a rarity or something that I had to defend in meeting rooms," Williams said in an interview with Madame Architect blogger Julia Gamolina.

"In other places I’ve worked, the work felt project focused, whereas here at MASS it is people focused; my architecture now feels like activism."

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