Volume 7 Issue 2

Joe Knew There Was Something Wrong

By Kevin Coval, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

the 1st time i really talked with him, he was yelling at me. it was his first year coaching at Louder Than A Bomb and his Umjoa Manley all-boys Flipside team’s first year as well. they lost. badly. a group of 8th graders scored higher them. Joe was pissed. after the bout he came to me demanding an explanation, justice, retribution, a ribbon, something for his students who worked hard and never won anything. he said the system was unfair, it should be equitable, why was their so much emphasis on competition? at this point in his dissertation, Joe was no longer talking about the slam.

Joe Cytrynbaum: Labor Leader

By Michael Janson

On a crisp fall morning in 2003, Joe Cytrynbaum donned a peculiar costume. He stood dressed as an oversized ballot box in front of College Hall, the administrative headquarters of the University of Pennsylvania. The costume consisted of large sheets of gray cardboard taped together with black lettering on the sides that read “BALLOT BOX” and fit over Joe’s body so that his head came out the top of the box. The union that Joe chaired, Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania (GET-UP), was staging a protest in front of the administration building that day.

Umoja Joe

By Lila Leff, Umoja Student Development Corporation

It was spring of 2004 when Joe interviewed to become the Program Director at Umoja Student Development Corporation in Chicago. Umoja is a weird hybrid of a youth development/ educational reform organization. We operate from the premise that all sustainable change (for individuals and systems) has to happen in the context of meaningful relationships; that purposeful relationships are the first step in making anything better - even the hard core, long-term impacts of poverty. Our operational formula is part art and part science. It involves moving into the most under-resourced and under-performing high schools in Chicago and walking beside students in their journey.