People make progress

The work of creating an anti-racist arts and culture sector is bigger than any one group or organization. To that end, we have brought together a diverse team of people, acting across various roles, to ensure that there are many accessible ways to contribute, and that a multitude of diverse voices are meaningfully included. So far, these are the key people who drive our work. We look forward to welcoming more collaborators and adjacent moments to the Imagine Just community.

Project Ambassadors

Chicago’s arts community is vastly diverse across individual identities, disciplines, roles, organizations, and neighborhoods. The Ambassadors are a group of arts and culture leaders who help ensure that the voices of diverse practitioners and communities are included in and continue to shape this initiative.

Ambassadors shaped and led the co-creation process by convening members of their communities and facilitating sessions to share stories and imagine new ideas together. They continue to support the crafting of ideas into our living vision, ensuring its integrity, relevance and sustainability as the Imagine Just community evolves.

Asad Ali Jafri (he,him,his) Cultural Producer, Artist, Organizer Read Bio
Ayana Contreras (she/her/hers) Radio Host, Audio Producer, DJ, Writer Read Bio
Ayesha Jaco (she/her/hers) Choreographer, Artistic Director, Executive Director Read Bio
Chris Aldana (she/her/hers) Poet, Educator, Community Organizer Read Bio
Debra Yepa-Pappan (she/her/hers) Visual artist, co-founder of Center for Native Futures, Native community engagement coordinator at Field Museum Read Bio
Elijah McKinnon (they/them/theirs) Artist, Strategist and Entrepreneur Read Bio
Erik Kaiko (he/him/his) Arts Marketer & Producer Read Bio
Ireashia Bennett (they/them/theirs) Interdisciplinary artist Read Bio
Megha Ralapati (she/her/hers) Curator & Arts Worker Read Bio
Stephanie Manriquez (she/her/hers) Writer, Radio Producer, Journalist, and Teaching Artist Read Bio

Embedded Artists

Artists are vital in driving change. Through the artistic process, artists catalyze conversation, simultaneously adding complexity and illuminating clarity. The Embedded Artists use the medium or discipline of their choice to reflect on, respond to, and/or interpret the Imagine Just co-creation and visioning process.

Embedded Artists’ creative contributions complement other written and visual records of this process. Their work is critical in interpreting the vision of an anti-racist arts and culture sector, as well as sharing the stories found within.

Monica Rickert-Bolter (she/her/hers) Artist, Illustrator, Indigenous Futurist, Journalist, Collaborator, Wife Read Bio
Rod Sawyer (he/him/his) Creative Photographer Read Bio
Sadia Nawab (she/her/hers) Hip Hop Artist, Cultural Organizer, Curator, Creative Strategist, IMAN’s Director of Arts & Culture, Mother Read Bio
Vershawn Sanders-Ward (she/her/hers) Artivist, Founder, Artistic Director, CEO, Scholar, Educator, Mother, Wife Read Bio

Project Advisors

Our approach has been guided by disciplines vital to an equitable process. Community organizing is a powerful method to catalyze conversation, build momentum and shift power. Creating inclusive and dignified access for all people is a justice-driven response to ableism in our society.

Our Advisors have significant experience in community organizing, movement building, accessibility, and advocacy. These individuals advise our project team on strategies and tactics for building trust, consensus and power, as well as creating inclusive and accessible spaces that can lead to lasting positive change.

Ahmad Jitan (he/him/his) Educator, Organizer, Poet Read Bio
Barak adé Soleil ( he/him/his + they/them/theirs) Consultant, Curator & Creative Practitioner Read Bio

Core Team

Imagine Just came about through the collective imagination and thought partnership of a group of individuals working to support a thriving and equitable arts community in Chicago. Alongside Enrich Chicago’s leadership, these individuals have set the vision for this initiative and provide strategic guidance and support.

Nina Sanchez (she/her/hers) Co-Director at Enrich Chicago Read Bio
Marcus Robinson (he/him/his) Co-Director at Enrich Chicago Read Bio
Amina Dickerson (she/her/hers) Executive and Leadership Coaching, Non Profit Consulting, Philanthropic Counsel at Dickerson Global Advisors Read Bio
Cate Fox (she/her/hers) Director of AmbitioUS Read Bio
Meida Teresa McNeal (she/her/hers) Arts & Culture Manager at Chicago Park District Read Bio
Ryan Priester (he/him/his) Program Officer, Chicago Commitment at the MacArthur Foundation Read Bio

Design and Facilitation Partner

Greater Good Studio is a Chicago-based design firm dedicated to inclusive, people-centered social change. Using a human-centered design approach and working closely with the extended project team, they are leading the design and facilitation of the community co-creation phase of this initiative.

Christina Cosío (she/her/hers) Operations Lead Read Bio
Jamie Sanchez (she/her/hers) Web Developer Read Bio
Kyle Newton (he/him/his) Project Lead Read Bio
Nadia Rey (she/her/hers) UI/UX Designer + Multidisciplinary Artist Read Bio
Ruti Prudencio (she/her/hers) Design Lead Read Bio
Sara Cantor (she/her/hers) Project Guide Read Bio
Sasha Yan (she/her/hers) Research Lead Read Bio
Shauntelle Hixson (she/her/hers) Operations Assistant Read Bio
Venita Griffin (she/her/hers) Lead Community Organizer Read Bio