Together We Heal launches a journey aimed at building racial healing across Chicago. We want every Chicagoan to do their part to foster racial healing, learning, and restoration in every neighborhood across our City. We seek to promote civic unity by encouraging Chicagoans to connect across lines of difference and support a collective conversation about our truth and our promise as a City. Our ask is simply that you join us!
We need your help! Now more than ever, Chicago needs to build a foundation for equity and healing. The Office of Equity and Racial Justice invites you to help us build this foundation by sharing your thoughts and ideas in this quick survey. Your feedback, along with that of other Chicagoans, will be used to collectively create shared definitions and a statement of principles that the City of Chicago can adopt.
Take this quick five-minute survey to share your vision with us! Curious about what others across the city are saying? The survey allows you to see what other Chicagoans are sharing. Our goal is to build a statement that embraces our collective voices and guides future planning and policy including, but not limited to, the city’s comprehensive planning process, “We Will Chicago”; city departments’ strategic planning; procurement and hiring policies and practices, resource distribution; and recovery initiatives. So, share your ideas with us today!
FEATURED SPEAKERS & PERFORMANCES
Chief Equity Officer, Office of Equity and Racial Justice, City of Chicago
Upon taking office, Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, appointed Candace Moore to serve as the City’s first Chief Equity Officer. Charged with leading the new Office of Equity and Racial Justice, Candace has been tasked with advancing policies and practices that promote equitable outcomes across city services and resources.
Prior to serving as the City’s Chief Equity Officer, Candace advocated for educational equity through a lens of racial and social justice at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. She was instrumental in the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s re-launch of the Educational Equity Project. Candace’s work with the Chicago Lawyer’s Committee focused on organizing legal advocacy resources to address disparate school discipline and barriers to enrollment for students throughout Chicago and its surrounding communities. As a next generation civil rights advocate, she believes that it is imperative to work in partnership with community-based advocates and institutional policy makers to achieve sustainable and meaningful solutions.
Candace‘s dedication to public service and advocacy is fueled by her own trials and triumphs and the countless stories of people who continue to be unfairly met with systemic barriers. Whether serving as a case manager for adults with disabilities at the Association for Individual Development or a Community Education Manager at the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Candace’s past professional experiences have ignited a passion to be intentional in her work and created an unrelenting desire to be an agent of change. She is a proud graduate of both Loyola University Chicago’s undergraduate program and the School of Law (J.D.’13). Beyond her formal education, Candace engages in thought leadership and advocacy surrounding her deep commitment to empowering people to develop their own voice and be their own agents of change and is an alumna of the inaugural Surge Fellowship cohort and the Shriver Center’s inaugural class of the Racial Justice Initiative.
Lori E. Lightfoot
Mayor, City of Chicago
Lori E. Lightfoot is the 56th Mayor of Chicago.
Since assuming office following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities, with early accomplishments including landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and closing a record $838 million budget gap, as well as key investments in education, public safety and financial stability. Mayor Lightfoot also placed Chicago on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2021.
In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Lightfoot has led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to effectively address its spread and broader public impact, including the creation of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, among other actions.
Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Previously, she served as President of the Chicago Police Board, as well as the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force.
Mayor Lightfoot also served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards, and as Assistant United States Attorney.
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.
Governor J.B. Pritzker
Governor, State of Illinois
Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd governor of the state of Illinois on January 14, 2019 and won election with the largest margin of victory over a sitting governor in more than a century.
After taking the oath of office, Governor Pritzker immediately began working with Democrats and Republicans to accomplish one of the most ambitious and consequential legislative agendas in state history. During his first session, the governor passed a balanced budget with a bipartisan majority, making historic investments in education and human services, while restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. The governor also won bipartisan passage for legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis and for Rebuild Illinois, the largest investment in state history to upgrade roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and universities in every corner of the state.
The governor took bold action, putting state government back on the side of working families by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making college more affordable for nearly 10,000 additional students, and advancing equal pay for women.
A national leader in early childhood education for over 20 years and having organized President Obama’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, Governor Pritzker this year made childcare and preschool more affordable in Illinois for tens of thousands more families. He also partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Share our Strength to fight child poverty by expanding school breakfast programs in low income school districts across our state.
Before becoming governor, Pritzker founded 1871, the non-profit small business incubator in Chicago that has helped entrepreneurs create more than 11,000 jobs and more than 1,000 new companies. Since the creation of 1871, Chicago has been named one of the top ten technology startup hubs in the world, and 1871 was named the best incubator in the world. As governor, he has expanded support for new business incubators and cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of small businesses while incentivizing job creation and innovation. He also extended research and development tax credits to help manufacturing workers and businesses thrive, and he worked with the business community to create apprenticeship tax credits to promote job training.
The descendant of refugees, Governor Pritzker believes our state and our nation should welcome and protect its immigrant families and that we must fight against the wave of intolerance that has risen in recent years. Before becoming governor, he led the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, a nationally recognized institution where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, police officers and others learn to fight bigotry and hatred. As governor, he has built the most diverse cabinet and governor’s office in Illinois history.
Governor Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker have been married for more than a quarter century, and they are the proud parents of two children.
Public Historian and Curator
Jennifer Scott is an anthropologist, curator and public historian, whose work, for over 25 years, explores connections between museums, arts, place and social justice. She most recently served as Director and Chief Curator of Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago, leading the exhibitions, community engagement efforts and overall vision of the Museum for nearly six years. In 2019, the Museum was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice by the Association of Midwest Museums. Prior to Hull-House, Jennifer served for a decade as the Vice Director and Director of Research at Weeksville Heritage Center, a nationally significant historic site in Brooklyn, New York, that memorializes a Free Black, independent community in the 19thcentury. There, she co-curated a number of public programs and exhibitions, including: In Pursuit of Freedom, which uncovered the antislavery history of Brooklyn, and, Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn in partnership with Creative Time (2014) that explored historical and creative practices of community resistance. Jennifer currently is a board member of the National Association for Museum Exhibition and is Vice-President for the Association of Midwest Museums. In 2020, she was appointed by Chicago’s Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council. Jennifer serves as faculty at the New School for Public Engagement in New York where she teaches courses in arts and civic engagement, cultural anthropology, race and ethnic studies, global studies and museum studies. She researches, writes and lectures locally and internationally on arts and social change, memory and place, contested histories and innovative strategies for museums and public history sites. Recent publications include: “Statues of Limitation: Are Museums the Rightful Home for Confederate Monuments?”(2019); “Designing for Outrage: Inviting Disruption and Contested Truth Into Museum Exhibitions”(2017) Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-first Century at a Post-Emancipation Site” (2015).
Associate Professor of American History and the College, University of Chicago
Adam Green is Associate Professor of American History and the College. He received his BA from The University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He teaches and researches in a variety of fields, including twentieth century U.S. history, African American history, urban history, cultural studies and social movements. He wrote Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (Univ. of Chicago Press: 2006), and co- edited Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism, 1850-1950 with Charles Payne (New York University Press: 2003). His current research addresses the black struggle for happiness and the role of ethical aspiration within African American history. Adam has worked extensively on projects joining public history and social change, including the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project, commemorative activities related to the 1919 Race Riot in Chicago, the campaign to install a historical marker at the site of the 1961 Rainbow Beach Wade- In, and currently as co-director of the Chicago Section of the Obama Presidency Oral History Project.
Visual Arts Director, National Museum of Mexican Art
Cesáreo Moreno joined the National Museum of Mexican Art in 1992. He has been the Visual Arts Director since1995, and was named the museum’s first Chief Curator in 2004. He has curated numerous exhibitions for NMMA as well as The Border Art Biennial III for the El Paso Museum of Art and Museo de Artede Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), Arte Tejano de campos, barrios y fronteras for the Smithsonian Latino Center, and cocurated Benito Juárez and the Making of Modern Mexico for the Chicago History Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout Mexico studying the cultures and art of numerous Mexican communities, including those that emerged north of the Rio Grande border since 1848. Moreno’s most important exhibitions have included A Declaration of Immigration, a contemporary exhibit of over 70 artists who dealt with the subject of immigration. The African Presence in México, From Yanga to the Present, a milestone exhibition that surveyed nearly 500 years of Afro-Mexican history and artistic expressions. Arte Diseño Xicágo surveyed the early involvement and influence of Mexican artists in Chicago since 1893. Additionally, he has curated thirteen of the annual Day of the Dead exhibitions. Moreno has served as a juror and panelist for numerous groups including the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Artist Coalition, UIC Latino Cultural Center, and the Illinois Arts Council. He taught Art of Mexico – Olmec to the Present at Columbia College Chicago (2005, 2006) and has spoken at conferences in the U.S. and Latin America including the William Bullock Coloquio Internacional (Mexico City), El Museo Reimaginado (Medellín), Museum Specialization and Education Symposium (Belo Horizonte), Association of African American Museums National Conference and the American Association of Museums Conference.
SANTIAGO X (KOASATI/CHAMORU)
SANTIAGO X, M.Arch, MFA is an Indigenous futurist and multidisciplinary artist specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. He is an enrolled citizen of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (Koasati) and Indigenous Chamoru from the Island of Guam U.S.A (Hacha’Maori).
Santiago X has exhibited and designed Internationally, including Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. He is a 2019 3Arts Award Winner, a 2020 New City Top 50 Chicago artist, and the first Native American contributor in the Chicago Architecture Biennial. In 2020, X was commissioned by the U.S. State Department to be the lead artist of The American Arts Incubator Brazil, where he traveled and conducted workshops in Brazil, culminating in a virtual reality exhibition, entitled, PORTAL. Currently, Santiago x is reinvigorating the ancestral mound building practice of his Koasati people, via two large-scale augmented public earthwork installations along the Chicago and Des Plaines River in Chicago, Illinois. This is notably the first time effigy earthworks have been constructed by Indigenous peoples in North America since the founding of the United States. POKTO ČINTO (Serpent Twin Mound) publicly opened on Indigenous Peoples Day, October, 14th 2019. Santiago X, received a Bachelors of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, a Masters of Architecture from the University of Southern California, and a Masters of Fine Arts Studio in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
AMANDA WILLIAMS is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Her creative practice employs color as a way to draw attention to the complexities of how race shapes how we assign value to space in cities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshapen most major US cities. Williams’ installations, paintings and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space and ownership in America. Amanda has exhibited widely, including the MoMA (NY), the Venice Architecture Biennale, the MCA Chicago, and a public commission at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. She recently won the commission to design a permanent monument to Shirley Chisholm in Brooklyn NY. Amanda has been recognized as a Joan Mitchell Foundation grantee, a USA Ford Fellow, an Efroymson Arts Fellow and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Amanda is also a member of the Obama Presidential Center’s Museum Design Team and sits on the boards of the Graham Foundation, Garfield Park Conservatory and Hyde Park Art Center. Her work is in several permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and the MoMA (NY). Williams lives and works on the south side of Chicago.
President and Executive Director, Public Narrative
Jhmira Alexander is the president and executive director of Public Narrative (formerly Community Media Workshop). Alexander’s drive to cultivate communities through the media is unwavering. She speaks and lectures widely and holds a B.S. in Communications from Bradley University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Strayer University. Jhmira is a trained journalist who is not only a storyteller but a strategist committed to improving community health and well-being through media and civic engagement. Under her leadership, Public Narrative uses storytelling to implement narrative change strategies related to public safety, health and education.
Alexander has facilitated leadership and media development workshops with a wide range of groups, including the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, the Chicago Police Department’s Youth District Advisory Council (YDAC), the Latino Policy Forum and Metropolitan Family Services. Presently, she leverages her background to support the narrative change efforts for the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance powered by Thrive Chicago; and capacity building in health reporting among researchers, journalists and community leaders through a partnership with the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) out of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
President and CEO, Bethel New Life
Beatriz Ponce de León
Project Manager, Healing Illinois
Beatriz Ponce de León is Project Manager of Healing Illinois, a new initiative from the Illinois Department of Human Services to fund racial healing activities in communities across the state. Beatriz brings over 25 years of working with nonprofit organizations and public institutions to this role. Throughout her career, Beatriz has advocated for and helped create policies and programs that address the marginalization of people of color and low-income communities. She has built multi-sector coalitions, led community and organizational planning processes, implemented communications campaigns, and authored or contributed to numerous action plans and reports. These include “Language Education: Preparing Chicago’s Public School Students for a Global Community” for the Chicago Public Schools, “A Shared Future: The Economic Engagement of Greater Chicago and its Mexican Community” for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and most recently “Strong Neighborhood High Schools for a Stronger Chicago: The Generation All Action Plan.”
For much of her career, Beatriz worked as a consultant to non-profits and government. In this capacity she had the opportunity to apply strategic planning, coalition -building, and project management skills to a range of issues, while gaining new expertise on topics including diversity, equity and inclusion, public education, language diversity, youth development and adolescent rights, immigrant integration, public health, community development, and voter engagement.
In her role as either staff or consultant, Beatriz has always aimed to engage the people most impacted by a new program or policy in the decision-making, and has an especially strong commitment to partnering with young people and their allies in creating the opportunities and resources youth need to thrive.
Beatriz has served on the boards of several community organizations, the steering committee of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, and as an elected CPS local school council member. Beatriz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in race, class, and gender, from Yale University. She is the mother of two young adult women and lives in Chicago with her husband. She is especially proud of having completed the #100DayProject by drawing and painting for 100 consecutive days in 2019.
Chief of Schools, Chicago Public Schools
Megan Hougard started her work in education as a career-changer. She began teaching in New Orleans after several years working in youth program development. Megan’s focus on high expectations for all students is deeply rooted in her work with youth in juvenile detention centers. As a teacher, school administrator, and now district administrator, she continues to expand opportunities for students in diverse communities and school settings, including: detention, gifted, IB, career, and technical. Megan served as the Chief of a K-12 network, where she worked with students, teachers, and principals from 44 Chicago Public Schools. She is now responsible for managing one of the four high school regions of 18 schools and collaboratively developing the district’s overall high school strategy. She led the development and opening of three early college CPS high schools – Englewood STEM, Sarah Goode STEM and Back of the Yards World IB. Megan holds an undergraduate degree from University of Michigan, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from National Louis University.
Meagan McNeal is a powerhouse singer/songwriter and recording artist from Chicago, Illinois, versed in the genres of Soul, Jazz, and R&B. Known for her diverse range and soulful voice, she attracted great fandom on the local circuit and received international acclaim with the release of her debut album entitled “Mindset” in 2014.
Gracing the stage of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2017, Meagan’s radiating vocals landed her on the team of Grammy Award Winning artist Jennifer Hudson. Using the tools and experiences, she attained from the mentorship and artist development on “The Voice” she furthered her music career.
Since embarking on her solo journey in 2007, Meagan went on to perform throughout the USA and across the globe. With a fervent drive and dedication, she was a backing vocalist for world-famous artists like Eminem, Common, and The O’Jays. Compelling audiences with her sultry but graceful harmonies, her energetic stage presence was embraced as she opened for various artists, including The Velvelettes of the Legendary Motown Records, Dwele, and Avery Sunshine.
Influenced by groundbreaking artists such as Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Kahn, and Aretha Franklin, Meagan refined her talents throughout the years and shaped her signature style.
Her music effortlessly transcends boundaries and spreads messages of love and universal truth.
Seated at the core of her artistry are her unwavering determination, open-mindedness, and innovative mindset.
Logan Lu is a dynamic, Chicago born and raised, Puerto Rican artist who showcases his talents as a poet, a featured artist, and a Master of Ceremonies. His decade of experience in each of these disciplines combined with his stage presence is legendary in the Chicago performance scene. He draws from his urban reality to cross the color lines in the hyper-segregated neighborhoods of Chicago with the street credibility that comes from years of working as an activist, an artist, and an educator.
In 2014, he earned a B.A. in Communications, media and theater from Northeastern Illinois University. He is the 2017 Artists in Residence at Oak Park Public Library. Logan Lu has performed poetry across the United States including with the GUILD COMPLEX, Tia Chucha Press, and the National Museum of Mexican Art, as well as toured Mexico in 2016 and 2018. He has also held workshops for the residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and students in the Chicago Public Schools and educators in Mexico.
On stage, he has opened for notable acts including Saul Williams and Calle 13. Luis has also represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam in 2014 and 2018.
He is the author of Stone Eagle (2017) published by Bobbin Lace Press, Chicago. Currently, Luis is the resident poet for ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat (2016 Best New Band and Best International Music Act, Chicago Reader).
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!
The Chicago Community Trust
JPMorgan Chase Bank
Conant Family Foundation
Crown Family Philanthropies
Irving Harris Foundation
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Polk Bros. Foundation
J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Woods Fund of Chicago
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
American Jewish Committee
Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Chicago
Equity Advisory Council
Racial Equity Rapid Response
The Chicago Community Trust
Civic Consulting Alliance
Healing Illinois (IDHS)
Zeno Group Chicago