Past Event


Thank you for joining us as we celebrated our 2023 Public Humanities Awardees at City Hall/Recess on May 17, 2023!

Missed it? Want to revisit the words from Faylita Hick’s poem and the fabulous honorees? Watch the the livestream!

Read “Root Work”                   Watch the Livestream                 Make a donation


Beacon Award recipient:

Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association

Public Humanities Awards recipients:

Rebecca Ginsburg, Director of the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Stephanie Manriquez, Executive Director of Contratiempo and Producer at Lumpen Radio
Alyson Thompson, Library Director of Marshall Public Library

For information about the Public Humanities Awards, including sponsorships, please contact Morven Higgins at or (312) 422-5584. Register for this event today or download the sponsorship form.

More about this year’s recipients:

2023 Public Humanities Awards Host Committee

Event Co-Chairs

Mea Konopasek*
Jennifer Wirtz*

Honorary Chairs

Governor JB Pritzker
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton

Committee Members

Nick Adam

Brenda Asare

Rhea Ballard-Thrower

Michelle T. Boone

John Bracken

Jennifer Brier

Commissioner Chris Brown

Antoinette Burton*

Felicia Davis Blakley

Rachel DeWoskin

Sue Eleuterio*

Brenda Langstraat Bui

Gabrielle Lyon

Susan A. Manning*

Tracye A. Matthews

Chrystalla Mouza

National Museum of Mexican Art

Julio Paz*

Rikeesha Phelon

Abigail Ristow

Larry Sophian*

Christy Uchida

Angel Ysaguirre

*Board Member
Last Updated: May 7, 2023

About Illinois Humanities’ Public Humanities Awards Ceremony

Established in 1984, the Public Humanities Awards Ceremony celebrates people who have made an indelible impact on our state through their work in and support of the humanities, honoring them with the Public Humanities Award. This event is Illinois Humanities’ most important annual fundraiser and enables us to provide grants and free public humanities programs throughout Illinois.

Launched in 2020 as part of the Public Humanities Awards Ceremony, the Beacon Award honors an individual or organization who has been a champion for – or investor in – the humanities in Illinois, elevating the work of humanists in ways that have improved the quality of the state for its residents.

About Illinois Humanities

Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Learn more at and on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.