T.R.A.P. House Chicago
Imagine your city with no crime or violence. To start, many of our loved ones would probably still be living but it would be the end to many institutions that profit from these cycles of violence.
Using his clothing brand T.R.A.P. House Chicago, which stands for Truth Reaching All People, artist/designer Mashaun Ali is using his talent, skill and knowledge to educate his city on the realities of crime and violence. His clothing brand supports a youth development program; Teens Reaching All Potential (also TRAP), that focuses on education, employment and entrepreneurship.
“An in-school and community program that uses the philosophy and practices of Restorative Justice to identify and address root causes of crime and violence in the city of Chicago.”
Photos of Chicago residents holding posters that pose questions like, “Does the system need ‘criminals’ in order to sustain itself?” and others that challenge martial law are all part of his campaign for #CrimeDrought and #CrimePays.
“I’m creating my own compound words #crimedrought being one and the second being #crimestrike that is a verb, a unified community action, that will address all root causes of crime and violence and all community efforts are seeking to reform policy.”
#Crimepays validates theories rooted in structural racism, and holds dialogue on how unemployment is connected to poverty and how poverty is connected to crime coincidentally happening in certain neighborhoods, primarily black communities, based on this crave for survival and those who profit from it.
“#Crimepays is our first. The front of the shirt says crime pays and the back of the shirt lists those who benefit from crime like the police, lawyers, judges, ambulance, coroners, probation officers, etc., but not us.”
Ali is currently working to expand his brand TRAP House Chicago after he just received a 3Arts Award that will contribute funding to create more artwork with two pop-up shops underway.
He participated in Open Engagement 2017 which is an artivist-led conference, where he led workshops on restorative justice and shared his current work on TRAP House Chicago as well as the concept of #crimepays.
As he grows as an artist and activist, he continues to market his campaign on the ground, talking directly with the people who are directly impacted by these cycles of violence, his community; the people.
“For me it’s about staying open whether it be facilitating a circle, doing professional development or training you know walking through the streets and just talking to people with marketing materials I always see it as an even exchange.”