Chicago State University

Truth n' Trauma Project

The Truth n' Trauma project (TNT) aims to prevent and reduce violence in neighborhoods and communities contiguous to Chicago State University through supporting young people in addressing the impact of trauma on young people and families in their neighborhoods and communities, and developing strategies for trauma and violence prevention and reduction. Three social work faculty, along with faculty from Counseling Psychology and The Department of Communications, Media, Theatre, and Arts (CMAT) were involved in partnering with local agencies to develop this effort. Forty-three youth were selected to work with Chicago State University, and received training on the root causes of violence and community trauma, participatory action research methods, advocacy and leadership skills, and media and arts training. TNT staff believe that youth, in partnership with adult allies, can be active agents in creating and implementing innovative strategies to address the issue of trauma in our community, developing innovative ways to introduce the community and other youth to radical healing. Our mission is to reduce community violence and help heal the exposure to violence through education that liberates and restores the community. TNT encourages youth led, restorative practices with violence affected youth.

Over 40 area youth met at Chicago State University from September 2012 through May 2013, and designed products related to addressing violence, including documentary videos, trauma workshops, theatrical performances, and research. Included within this was an April 2013 conference that saw over 200 professionals from around the Chicagoland area come to Chicago State University to discover best practices associated with trauma informed and restorative practices. TNT program activities are on-going, and the impact of the program has been overwhelmingly positive.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Troy Harden, Principal Investigator
  • Danton Floyd, TNT Coordinator
  • Mamadou Beh, CSU student, media arts major
  • Jaron Jones, CSU student, business major
  • Dr. Chris List, CMAT Director
  • Dr. Karen Martinson, Theatre
  • Dr. Kimberly Mann, Co-Investigator
  • Dr. Tom Kenemore, Co-Investigator
  • Dr. Michael Edwards, Investigator