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Talks | FIRSTHAND: Segregation


6 expert talks providing context around the topic of segregation in Chicago

Explore these powerful Talks, each with a big idea for addressing segregation in Chicago.

Tonika Lewis Johnson
Segregation Limits Our Relationships

Tonika Lewis Johnson describes how attending a large, multi-racial Chicago public high school in the '90s taught her empathy, expanded her worldview, and revealed the impacts of segregation…all while giving her lifelong friendships she wouldn't have had otherwise.

Tonika Lewis Johnson
Social Justice Artist; Creator, Folded Map Project; Co-founder, Englewood Arts Collective and Resident Association of Greater Englewood

Aaron Allen
Seeing the City with New Eyes

As a kid growing up in Galewood, Aaron Allen wondered why his neighborhood looked so much different than the rest of the West Side. His search for answers pointed him to an unexpected issue — bank lending. He describes the journey that led him through data charts, down memory lane, and into a legendary pink house that made him see the city with new eyes.

Aaron Allen
Writer; Freelance Journalist with stories for City Bureau, Chicago Reader, WBEZ, Austin Weekly News

José Rico
Truth Telling about Violence and Healing

Chicago is a city of ZIP codes that mark cultural and racial differences and inequities. José Rico describes how understanding violence in a city known for its segregated neighborhoods is necessary for true healing and systemic transformation.

José Rico
Circlekeeper; Executive Director, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Chicago

Lisa Yun Lee
Have Your Mooncake, and Eat it Too

Lisa Yun Lee describes how a question from a shopkeeper in Chinatown led to her awareness of the differences between imposed segregation and self segregation as an act of resistance and survival. In her talk, she discusses the balance of preserving cultural diversity across Chicago's neighborhoods while challenging inequity.

Lisa Yun Lee
Cultural Activist; Executive Director, National Public Housing Museum and Associate Professor of Public Culture and Museum Studies, University of Illinois Chicago

Soren Spicknall
Unlearning the Bad Advice That Segregates Chicago

When you move to a new neighborhood, it's often the first things you hear from residents that have the biggest impact on how you view your surroundings. Soren Spicknall discusses how his initial perception of Chicago was shaped by established stereotypes and boundaries, how he came to realize that these boundaries were often rooted in racism, and how he learned to navigate this city with clearer eyes.

Soren Spicknall
Photographer; Data Engineer, The Movement Cooperative

Monica Peek
Segregation is Bad for Your Health

Dr. Monica Peek explains how residential segregation leads to worse health outcomes for Black Americans. In her Talk, she navigates our segregated, under-resourced and understaffed healthcare systems, and chronic disinvestment in communities that have fewer health-promoting resources and attributes.

Monica Peek, MD, MPH
Physician; Ellen H. Block Professor for Health Justice, Professor of Medicine and Associate Director, Chicago Center for Diabetes Translational Research, The University of Chicago