Past Event

After the Olympic Bid: What’s Next for Chicago?

The excitement and controversy surrounding Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics came to an end when Rio de Janeiro became the official host city. Now that Chicago has lost; how can we harness all the energy around Chicago’s bid to create a better city for everyone?

Join us as voices from varying backgrounds – a poet, an historian, a social worker, and a community organizer – come together to envision possible futures for Chicago and a city that “works for us.” We will explore how we can work together to create a more just and humane community for all Chicagoans. Discussants include Kevin Coval, poet and founder of Louder Than a Bomb; Adam Green, associate professor of American history at the University of Chicago; Amisha Patel, Executive Director of the Grassroots Collaborative; and Amy Skeen, Executive Director of Girls in the Game. This discussion will be moderated by Natalie Moore, Chicago Public Radio South Side Community Bureau Reporter.

Poets Aja-Monet and Sharrieff Muhammad will help us kick-off the event with performances!

This program is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended and can be made online, by email at, or by calling 312.422.5580

This event is co-presented by The Public Square, Chicago Public Radio–WBEZ 91.5FM, and the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation at Roosevelt University.

About our panel

Kevin Coval is author of Everyday People (EM Press 2008) and Slingshots (A Hip-Hop Poetica) (EM Press 2006), which was nominated for a Book of the Year Award by The American Library Association. Poems and critical essays have appeared in The Spoken Word Revolution and The Spoken Word Revolution Redux (Sourcebooks), Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop (Basic Civitas), I Speak of the City: Poems of New York (Columbia University Press), The Chicago Tribune, Crab Orchard Review, and can be heard regularly on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and National Public Radio in Chicago. Coval is a faculty member at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, poet-in-residence at The Jane Addams Hull House-Museum, and Minister of Hip-Hop Poetics at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Adam Green is associate professor of American history at the University of Chicago. His fields of study are modern U.S. history, African American history, urban history, comparative racial politics, and cultural economy. His publications include Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism, 1850-1950 (co- editor Charles Payne, New York University Press, 2003). He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Amisha Patel is Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, a community-labor coalition working to win racial and economic justice in Chicago and statewide. This follows almost six years as a union organizer with SEIU Local 73.  Previous to moving back home to Chicago, Amisha did arts-based violence against women prevention programming in communities of color in the Bay Area. The documentary that her youth created, entitled Young Azns Rising! Breaking Down Violence Against Women, screened in film festivals across the country and won the Asian Emmy for best documentary.

Amy Skeen
, MSW, LCSW, is Executive Director of Girls in the Game, a nonprofit recognized for leadership in sports, health, and leadership programming for girls citywide. She holds her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has fifteen years of experience in nonprofit program operations, specifically working with youth and families. She earned a Type 73 certificate that qualifies her to provide social work services to children with special needs in a school setting. Amy has received numerous awards for her leadership, including One of Chicago’s Top Women Making a Difference for Girls, (Women Employed 2008).

About our moderator

Natalie Moore is the reporter for Chicago Public Radio’s bureau in Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Natalie’s work has been published in Essence, Black Enterprise, the Chicago Reporter, Bitch, In These Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. She is co-author of the book Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation. She is a 2009 fellow at Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. She’s also on the board of directors of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance.

About our poets

Aja-Monet, is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from East NY, Brooklyn, residing in Chicago, IL. At 22 years old, she is currently the youngest Grand Slam Champion of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging altogether Hip Hop, Soul, and literary audiences. She dedicates her time and energy working with inner-city adolescence, providing performance poetry workshops and opportunities. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently working on her MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sharrieff Muhammad, lives the birthright tradition of Bluesman/Griot. That is where the heart of his art lives, in the tradition of story telling, folksong. He was raised listening to classical symphonies, Blues Rock, Native Tongue Hip Hop, and Bebop Jazz. His poetry has been published in Malikah’s Kitchen Anthology Storm Beneath Fingers and he is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award and a Fire Next Time Grant. He is currently a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors. Please visit, for a collection of his recordings.

For more information, call 312.422.5580.