No one was surprised when we rolled up to a Holiday Inn last night. We have stayed in so many that they now seem like home to me.
After breakfast, we had a meeting at Northwestern Law with the John Howard Association.The content of the meeting only had a little to do with why we were excited. We were promised doughnuts, and all knew this would be a meeting to remember. The John Howard Association is over 100 years old and works to reform prisons. It was named after John Howard who was aware of prison conditions so long ago and wanted to change them. They referred to themselves as “prison watchdogs”. We learned that the US has the highest incarcaration rate in the world and the Chicago justice system is fit to deal with 34,000 adults, yet they have 45,000 in the system. Also, that many people do not care about what goes on in prisons as long as those who have been convicted are locked up. This meeting made me realize that incarcerated people were still human and deserved to be treated as such.
After the meeting, we were off to Michigan Avenue to have some free time and lunch. I thought seeing the architecture of the city as I walked around was mesmerizing.
Alum from 2004, Daniel Riff, met with the group in downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Art Institute, it was time to reenact the scenes from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and of course see all the great art in there. From Buddhas that originated in Cambodia and Thailand to the outfits used in famous Manet and Renoir paintings, there were so many intriguing pieces of art.
We hung out by Lake Michigan after the Art Institute and had dinner at Chipotle or Panera Cares. Panera Cares is part of the Panera Bread Company and is a place where everyone, no matter their financial state, can have a meal. Patrons are asked to give donations instead of paying for their meals. The more money given to Panera Cares the more people who normally could not pay can eat a meal.