Call for orators, slam poets, activists, dreamers, doers!
Exercise your First Amendment rights at historical Washington Square.At a time when political polarization is intensified by the extremes of digital discourse, the Bughouse Square Debates are a public forum where people can encounter new ideas and share their own in person! Ground Rules
- Speeches under 3 minutes.
- Participants under 25 years old.
- Solo, pair, team, whatever. Bring it.
- Your words or someone else’s with attribution.
- Competitive, if that moves you.
- Hate has no home here. Racist, sexist, homophobic, gender-biased, ableist, or otherwise derogatory speech that is degrading to any specific group of people will not be tolerated.
Event DetailsJoin the Newberry for Chicago’s favorite free speech event! Bring your loudest heckling voice, mount the open soapbox, and exercise your First Amendment rights. Take it to the park this summer! And don’t miss the Newberry Book Fair before and/or after the Debates!
Full Event Schedule
|12pm||Live music from Environmental Encroachment|
|1pm||Welcome Rick Kogan, Master of Ceremonies|
|1:10pm||Presentation of the 2018 John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award to the University of Chicago on behalf of President Robert Zimmer|
|1:25pm||Performance by Genesis Academy Summer Institute Students|
|2:30pm||Soapbox Speeches, including the Youth Soapbox organized by students from GCE Lab School with special guest emcee, CBS Chicago’s Vince Gerasole|
|3:30pm||Performance Interlude while the Soapbox Judges make their decision|
|3:45pm||Dill Pickle Awards to the Soapbox Champion and The Windy City Pickle Speaker of Truth Youth Bughouse Award|
Youth Soapbox Awards
Windy City Pickle Speaker of Truth Youth Bughouse AwardAs a rule, grownups cannot be trusted. They have left us a ginormous mess. However, we honor some exceptional old-people doing a rock-solid job righting wrongs, slaying dragons, and empowering youth voice (since we’re the ones who are going to need to clean it all up). This year’s Speaker of Truth Awards will be presented to:
Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General and Edie Canter, Executive Director of the Chicago Debate Commission
Our esteemed panel of Bughouse judges will determine award winners in the following categories:
Windy City Dill Award The highest honor. This award goes to the most memorable speech of the day.
Firestick AwardGiven to the most passionate speaker.
Cauliflower AwardGiven to the speaker who draws attention to an under-recognized issue.
Green Bean AwardGiven to the youngest speaker.
Beer Briny AwardAll talk is exhausting. Coveted spectator award for the person or group adding the most color and charm to our Bughouse. Humor, costume, theatrical appeal, sparkle and general good vibes are always a plus.
Future Leaders AwardsGiven its tireless work to protect the most vulnerable among us, student organizers have chosen the ACLU of Illinois’ Next Generation Society to receive the Protector of Everything We Hold Dear Award. On behalf of ACLU’s Next Generation Society, Peter Hanna will be honoring all Youth Bughouse participants with the Future Leaders Award.
- About two dozen local organizations and causes will set up information tables in the park, with volunteers to answer your questions. Would your organization like to be represented? Write to [email protected] or call 312-255-3610.
Learn more about the history of Bughouse Square.Supported by a grant from the Chicago Free for All Fund at the Chicago Community Trust. Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.
Special Thanks To:
Join us at the Faith Community of Saint Sabina’s Annual End of the School Year Peace March & Rally
We’ve been invited to do a massive Schools Say Enough Sidewalk Challenge around Saint Sabina. The entire Church. HUGE. Chance the Rapper, Jennifer Hudson, Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Emma Gonzales, along with Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of Parkland, Florida.
We’ll start writing names of schools, victims, and survivors of gun violence at 1pm, with the most community activity around 6:45-7:30 pm. Stay for a little. Stay for a lot. Many hands make light work.
Saint Sabina Church at 78th Place and Throop Street.
Check out the Chicago Sun-Times coverage of the National Die-In protest across from Trump Tower: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/protesters-stage-die-in-to-commemorate-pulse-nightclub-shooting/
We’re thrilled our Schools Say Enough Sidewalk Challenge has been invited to participate at The Chicago Wear Orange Party for Peace on June 2nd!
All are welcome to volunteer or to simply enjoy the event. We’ll be asking people to write the names of schools affected by gun violence on the pavement, creating a massive public representation of the ever-growing problem.
Why?The purpose of this Field Experience is for students to undergo “boot camp” that tested their endurance.
How?Under the guidance of Sensei Lavin, the students participated in a series of exercises that pushed them to overcome mental blocks in order to defeat physical ones.
Hello, I’m a Freshman at GCE Lab School. Recently, our class traveled to Uncommon Ground at their Devon St. location to see the first certified organic brewery in Illinois, and the first certified organic rooftop farm in the U.S.! Visiting Uncommon Ground was a unique and enlightening adventure; I personally had never seen an actual rooftop garden, let alone one that is certified organic! I now know a lot more about the regulations of being a company who is certified organic, and how difficult it is to maintain and sustain an organic organization.
We, the Freshmen, in the Food For Thought class have been examining the question of whether GMOs are truly beneficial to humans and the environment, and what ‘organic’ means and why it is in higher demand. In our second External Investigation of our Humanities course, we are investigating the industrialization of food and the sustainability of our current ideals for food. As a part of our investigation, we have been watching the documentaries Food Inc and reading In Defense of Food by Micheal Pollan. We took to Uncommon Ground to see what organic means and how Uncommon Ground could sustain itself in this harsh economy full of industrial and cheap food. We spoke to Brandon Kik, a farmer at Uncommon Ground, who gave us a tour of the rooftop and spoke to us about how and why they became the first organic rooftop farm in the U.S.
The purpose of the Field Experience was for us to see what an organic farm and company look like, to see if being an organic company is sustainable, and to learn about why companies put so much effort into becoming organic and how they do so.
We took a tour of the Uncommon Ground rooftop farm and spoke to one of the farmers to get more insight on the whys and hows of becoming a certified organic farm, restaurant, and brewery.
— Reflection & photography by Gimena, Class of 2021
On Wednesday, May 15, GCE Lab School’s Schools Say Enough campaign is headed to Montessori School of Englewood. We’re thrilled about the momentum and response we’ve seen since we started our initiative that asks communities to recognize schools at our first Soapbox Speak-out in Washington Square Park, aka Bughouse Square.
Why?The purpose of this Field Experience is for the students to see an urban farm and to learn about what it takes to sustain one.
How?The students will tour the space, ask questions, and do some actual work to learn firsthand about farming.
An incredible night, last Friday’s 3rd Annual GCE Fun’raiser had it all; pizza, hot dogs, an auction, raffle, poetry, live music, Cracker Jack, and a brilliant community raising money for GCE’s food program.
We were able to raise over $10,000 for the food program — that’s 5 months of food service for the entire school!