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News & Press: ICA News

My Soul Cries Out: Stop! Special Performance at ICA

Thursday, July 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Samantha Sainsbury
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On May 4, 2017, nearly 100 attendees gathered at the ICA GreenRise for an abridged performance of My Soul Cries Out: Stop! The play was written, directed, and produced by Denise Gathings, a Chicago Police Officer and lifelong resident of the Fifth City neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. Gathings’s aim in creating the play was to spark community transformation throughout Chicago. The play’s content drew directly from her day-to-day interactions with local youth as a community police officer.

ICA is linked to to Gathings through a shared history. She is the daughter of Ruth Carter, the dynamic former director of the Fifth City Preschool started by ICA’s community development initiatives in the ’70s. For those who worked with her, Ruth was an embodiment of the strength and spirit that arise from self determination and care for the world. The intergenerational cast, comprised of Gathings’s friends and family members, are part of Ruth’s  legacy.

Prior to the performance, a panel discussion featuring GathingsLillie Fox (Co-Founder of Fifth City Redevelopment Corporation), Ralph Edwards (Program Manager & Community Organizer at Cease Fire of Uptown-Rogers Park), and Jason C. Ervin (Alderman on Chicago’s West Side, 28th Ward) explored the current reality of the Fifth City neighborhood. Audience members found the dialogue to be ‘‘insightful, engaging, and deeply moving.”

The creative team for My Soul Cries Out: Stop! is interested in bringing this play to more communities. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Denise at

Fifth City was ICA’s first Human Development Project (HDP). HDPs motivated residents’ energy around leadership and change. This performance offered an opportunity to reflect on Fifth City and the living legacy of that work. ICA Global Archives looks forward to reflecting on ten other HDPs at the October Sojourn. See the Archives announcement for more details.