We are all extremely proud to present the 2019 Leaders for a New Chicago.
Collectively these 14 individuals represent Chicago, from every corner of the city, many South and West Side communities and each of the Foundation’s four program areas. They are community-based, community-centered and influenced by issues facing Chicago. Many are multi-disciplinary and represent the intersections of multiple program areas, including Art, Justice, and Media & Storytelling. There are a range of seasoned professionals and newcomers, folks that have been doing work in the communities for up to 30 years and individuals that are new to Chicago.
Through these awards, the Foundation and the Leaders for a New Chicago selection committee are helping to retell the story of what a leader looks like—and it looks like Chicago. Women, men and gender nonconforming—LGBTQ and African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA). Leaders are of a wide range in age and experience and they represent and speak to our city’s unique history.
We look forward to watching from the outside and seeing how this group of individuals will become a collective of leadership through Chicago.
Please learn more about each of them below
Aymar is changing Hollywood while also amplifying the voices and impact of queer/trans/women of color media and storytellers, highlighting under-represented communities and narratives from primarily south and west side communities and developing the next generation of storytellers. Aymar and OTV embody the next generation of media making, one that is radically inclusive, available online and packaged for wide distribution.
Alongside her teaching artist and community activism work, she is keenly invested and vocal for how urban environment is structured and its impact on our social networks. While she has helped create R.A.G.E. and the Englewood Arts Collective, she has worked extensively with Changing Worlds to further her social practice art in particular.
Photo credit: Philip Dembinski
Viveka’s commitment to community and justice combines both direct grassroots action with a longer policy-based vision. They transform the people with whom they interact and build them into leaders. Whether through formal training and project curricula or a framing and analyses of community issues, Viveka urges others to think and act more intentionally in a way that is intersectional—combining race and gender fluidity in important ways often not discussed.
Monica has a commitment to the communities of the West Side of Chicago and to communities of incarcerated women in the criminal justice system. Her leadership is rooted in her experience as a formerly incarcerated woman who found agency while in prison to help others and to shift policy.
Photo credit: Kelly Lenza of Bloom Photography
Page centers African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American (ALAANA) and primarily south and west side communities voices and emphasizes coalition building across communities evidenced by the groundbreaking work creating a bridge between the Latino and African American communities around the work of police accountability.
In addition to the groundbreaking work he has done to build and sustain a Mexican cultural and artistic instruction, Carlos has become an advocate and voice for Mexican culture and done extensive racial equity work and coalition building across communities.
Luis has embedded the foundational idea that sustainable community change is not possible without sustainable community organizations.
Heather merges the daunting task of being both a fundraising executive director and an advocate and leader of a cultural institution.
Photo credit: Adam Sings in the Timber
Gibran expands the MCA’s mission in response to the needs of the cultural communities it serves. He promotes the need for and value of the arts in ongoing community and neighborhood engagement and works to amplify African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American (ALAANA) voices in all the outreach and community engagement the institution does, brokering relationships between internal and external stakeholders. In doing so, he is effecting change on the institution’s growth and how it is being perceived and received in different communities. Across all his roles, he engages his work through the lens of racial equity.
Photo credit (main image): Leslie Frempong
Photo credit (bio image): Anjali Pinto
Darryl and City Bureau employ an alternative journalism platform to train and promote African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American (ALAANA) journalists, media and storytellers. He is co-leading the charge to build civic engagement of media and storytelling within the community and to challenge the idea of what media entities should be. From his work as an investigative journalist to his vision in re-imagining the very roles of community and journalists with the groundbreaking organization, City Bureau, Darryl is pioneering ways to both improve and let the public shape the Chicago information landscape.
Emmanuel has the ability to center and promote community-defined forms of art and creative production happening within and in collaboration on the South Side of Chicago.He works on issues of food justice, art, poverty and farming to activate dialogues in Chicago.