The Field Foundation, in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, has named its 2021 “Leaders for a New Chicago," 10 community leaders who have been impacted by racism, discrimination and disinvestment in underserved Chicago communities.
The awards are part of Field’s ongoing investment in racial justice visionaries and organizations addressing systemic issues in Chicago’s divested ccommunities.
Each recipient will receive a $25,000 award to use as they wish; the $25,000 operating grant goes to their affiliated organization.
The recipients’ work covers a wider range of areas, according to Field Foundation Leadership Investment Program Officer Hilesh Patel, including justice, media and storytelling, and art. The awardees themselves represent a diversity of religions, ethnicities, gender identity and sexual orientation.
“We continue to be inspired by these powerful visionaries,” said Patel, in a release. “The Leaders for a New Chicago Award continue to find where power lives inside our communities and provides the support and funding these folks need to dream bigger so they can continue to create change.”
MacArthur Foundation officials said it wanted to recognize community leaders making a difference in the lives of others.
“We are proud to provide (the leaders) with unrestricted support to keep pursuing their goals and personal growth as they change the landscape of our city,” said Geoffrey Banks, senior program officer for the MacArthur Foundation, in a release.
The 10 winners are LaSaia Wade, founder and executive director, Brave Space Alliance; Grace Pai, director of organizing, Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Chicago; Damon A. Williams, co-director, #LetUsBreathe Collective; Tony Alvarado-Rivera, executive director, Chicago Freedom School; Aislinn Pulley, co-executive director, Chicago Torture Justice Center; Brandon “Chief Manny” Calhoun, co-founder, the Era Footwork Crew; Malik Gillani, co-executive artistic director, Silk Road Rising; Meida Teresa McNeal, artistic and managing director, Honey Pot Performance; Monica Lynne Haslip, founder and executive director of Little Black Pearl; and Maira Khwaja, director of public strategy at Invisible Institute.