A surge in violence and gang-related homicides in Chicago have been prominent fixtures in recent national news coverage. One Buena Vista University student, Dominique Daily, a native of Chicago, has vowed to combat this violence by co-founding a non-profit organization, Love Out Loud.
“The mission of Love Out Loud is to educate, empower and inspire today’s youth in the Chicago-land area,” says Dominique, a communication studies major who will be a senior this fall. “It is our hope that Love Out Loud will help them make wiser and well-thought-out decisions that will affect them, our communities and future generations in positive ways.”
Love Out Loud was established in May after Dominique was approached by a high school friend, Dorshanay Williams, who has a mutual passion for civic engagement. “I believe it’s important to stand up for a cause you believe in because it helps empower others to stand up,” says Dominique.
To bring awareness to the issue of violence, Dominique has been helping to coordinate Love Out Loud’s first annual “Stop the Violence” picnic that will be held Aug. 10 in Chicago. The event is open to the public and will feature food, games, activities and guest speakers.
“This picnic will encourage our initiative to stop the violence by creating a peaceful atmosphere where family and friends can enjoy themselves and their surroundings,” says Dominique. “The goal is that youth, adults and the elderly can come together to share encouraging words and hope.”
Love Out Loud is partnering with Fernwood Elementary School — where the Aug. 10 event will take place — and Kids Off the Block, a non-profit organization for at-risk youth. Dominique worked with Kids Off the Block throughout high school, and in April, she and several other BVU students volunteered their time to the organization during BVU’s Alternative Week of Off-site Learning (AWOL) program.
Future goals of Love Out Loud include educating and empowering urban communities on the topic of violence, says Dominique. She also hopes to collaborate with other Chicago-area organizations to combat violence.
“I hope those who attend this event will take away a sense of hope and better understanding of what it means to be a community,” says Dominique, who plans to attend graduate school after BVU and would one day like to open a home for abandoned youth. “Once people become empowered they are more prone to wanting better and doing better. I believe violence can stop in Chicago but it’s going to take strong individuals to stand up and reach out to the people who are starting the violence. I am one of those individuals who is willing to stand up for what I know is right.”