About 50 community members and activists gathered at Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St., for #CHI4CHANGE: Stories from Chicago's Queer Youth, a storytelling event in support of the Creating Change conference to be held in Chicago January 20-24.
"This is a room of love and support," said emcee Shaily Hakimian in her introductory remarks for the nine performers, who all shared stories about coming out, relationships, bigotry and other experiences.
Kirstin B., a multimedia artist, opened the program, and said that her work was originally intended to be a love letter to myself, but it kind of ended up being a love letter to someone else."
Shane Calvin, a slam poet, recounted a story of bigotry in his piece and used it to deliver a message about compassion. "If there's somebody in your life who cares … [and] has compassion, that to me represents blood," he said.
Also performing were Aimy Tien, Amar Taylor, Da'Ovan B., Ebonni W., Elijah M., Evan M. and Justine Ogbevire. The event was sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center at University of Illinois at Chicago and the National LGBTQ Task Force.