Chicago Desi Youth Rising (CDYR) is a weekend summer leadership retreat for youth
ages 15 – 21 who trace their heritage to South Asia and the diaspora and who identify
themselves as change-makers. CDYR commits to empowering youth to combat social
inequality, and is inspired by Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS) in New York, Bay Area
Solidarity Summer (BASS), and D.C. Desi Summer (DCDS).
During the 3-day retreat, youth will engage in hands-on, interactive workshops that focus
on the experiences of young people, history, arts, movement building for community
resiliency, youth empowerment, identity, and culture. Youth and adult mentors will
co-create a safe, supportive, inspiring space that fosters critical thinking, facilitates the
exchange of ideas, and builds communication skills.
Desi – n., adj.: refers to people with origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and the Maldives, but the diaspora spreads from Fiji to
Trinidad, from Kenya to the Persian Gulf, from South Africa to Guyana and Suriname,
from Southall in Britain to Washington, DC and many places in between.
We welcome adoptees, desis of mixed heritage, any immigration status, and all
Participants can expect to:
(1) Meet other emerging leaders who want to create a positive change in their
communities and engage with global freedom struggles;
(2) Participate in issues-based and skills-building hands-on workshops that are relevant to them personally;
(3) Gain mentorship and meaningful exchanges with other South Asians who
have been involved in movement building;
(4) Join forces and create solidarity with a network of young leaders working towards
common visions of justice;
(5) Define new political and cultural spaces in Chicago; and
(6) Leave with more knowledge about their South Asian heritage.
Chicago Desi Youth Rising is fiscally sponsored by the Chicago Freedom School, whose mission is to create new generations of critical thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a just world.