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Chicago Urban League Tackles False Narratives about African-Americans at June 28th Summit

On Thursday, June 28, the Chicago Urban League (CUL) will host its annual Summit at the Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum (formerly UIC Forum). Unlike previous CUL Summits, which consisted of a luncheon attended by about 400 people, the 2018 Summit will be a two-part event that includes an educational forum in the afternoon and an evening talk by renowned social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, with seating for more than 1,000 people.

The educational forum will include three panel discussions on how narratives about race impact policies that affect African-American families, communities and individuals within institutions including classrooms, workplaces and the criminal justice system.

The featured evening speaker, Bryan Stevenson, is Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and the force behind the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. His address takes place from 6:00p.m. – 7:15p.m. Both sessions are free and open to the public.

The 2018 Summit is part of the League’s Race and Equity initiative, launched in 2016.

“As the League continues to dive deeper into the symptoms and solutions around race and equity, we thought it appropriate to change the format of our Summit to accommodate critical conversations that lead to action,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “We are thrilled that Bryan Stevenson will lend his powerful voice and insight to these discussions.”

The forum will take place from 1:00pm – 5:30p.m.

Panel 1: The Stories We Tell about African American Youth and Families

Moderator: Derrick Clifton (ProPublica)


Kofi Ademola (Black Lives Matter Chicago)

Patricia Frazer (National Youth Poet Laureate, Young Chicago Authors)

Mariah Neuroth (Young Chicago Authors)

Sejahari Saulter-Villegas (Kuumba Lynx)

Tiffany Walden (The Tribe)

Panel 2: The Stories We Tell about African American Communities

Moderator: Natalie Moore (WBEZ)


Jahmal Cole (My Block, My Hood, My City)

Jawanza Malone (Kenwood Oakland Community Organization)

Xavier Ramey (Justice Informed)

Janet Smith, PhD. (Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at UIC)

Panel 3: The Stories We Tell about African Americans in the Criminal Justice System

Moderator: Kari Lydersen (Journalist; Northwestern Medill School of Journalism)


Roger Bonair-Agard (Free Write Arts & Literacy)

Garien Gatewood (Juvenile Justice Initiative)

Rep. La Shawn Ford (IL General Assembly)

Quintin Williams (Heartland Alliance)

Sodiqa Williams (SAFER Foundation)

Youth performers include Patricia Frazer (Young Chicago Authors), Huey Gang (Young Chicago Authors), Kuumba Lynx and Hakeem Campbell (Free Write Arts and Literacy) who will share their own stories and creative works.

To register and for more information, visit

Sponsors for Summit 2018 include Presenting Sponsors Katie and Brent Gledhill and Innovation Sponsors CDW, ITW, the MacArthur Foundation, and Southwest Airlines. See full list of sponsors attached and at

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