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Windy City Times marks Pride Month with annual 30 Under 30 Awards

This article shared 18233 times since Wed Jun 26, 2019
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Windy City Times celebrates Pride Month with annual 30 Under 30 Awards . The ceremony takes pace Wed, June 26 at Polo Cafe and Catering, 3322 S. Morgan St. beginning with a 5:30 p.m. reception, with the program being 6-7:30 p.m.

Honorees are 30 years or under as of June 30, and have made substantial contributions to the Chicagoland LGBT community in the fields of entertainment, politics, health, activism, academics, sports or other areas. Hundreds of people have been honored by the paper in the more than 10 years since the awards were established.

Windy City Times Managing Editor Matt Simonette coordinates the awards program for the paper.

The honorees:

James Anthony

James Anthony is director of marketing and communications at Chicago Children's Theatre, Chicago's premier professional theatre company dedicated to young people and families. They have a degree in Mass Communications and Theatre, and an MA in Speech/Theatre. James is a licensed Zumba Instructor, a member of Actors' Equity Association, a spoken word artist and a choreographer/dancer.

They're an advocate and champion for arts accessibility, diversity and inclusion for the arts —— not only on the production/creative side, but on the business and admin side as well.

Did you know? James was almost homeless, so they sold all of their belongings, hopped on a bus, and moved to Chicago from New Orleans.

Lizzy Appleby

Lizzy Appleby is a facilitator who works with youth and adults to build a more welcoming, inclusive, and kind world. A licensed clinical social worker, Lizzy oversees the Pride Youth Program at Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, providing social, support, and leadership programs to more than 200 LGBTQ+ youth ages 4-24 and their families across the northern suburbs.

This fall, Lizzy also launched a podcast, "The Third Space," with co-creator Nat Duran. The Third Space focuses on supporting youth workers in developing their skills and strategies for working with young people outside of school and home.

Did you know? Lizzy loves culinary pursuits of all kinds, including eating, cooking, baking, and preserving; currently, she's working to perfect her pastry for the best possible pie crust.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown is the graphic designer at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. She graduated from DePaul University with a degree in art history and later received a graphic design certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Largely self-taught, she is passionate about advancing social justice through graphic design and communications, especially issues involving health equity and the LGBTQ community. For the past two years, she has led creative direction and brand development at AFC, where she also contributes video and editorial content.

Ashley also freelances with various nonprofits and companies in Chicago and around the country, and creates digital illustrations and personal projects in her spare time. She is especially interested in representing strong women and the important cultural contributions of diverse women throughout history in her work.

Did you know? Ashley is actively seeking volunteer opportunities around design and illustration for the Chicago nonprofit community.

Monica Brown

Monica Brown is TGNC youth intervention specialist for the Voices team at Broadway Youth Center. She has been working in the HIV field for little over a year doing HIV and STI screenings, Outreach and Tabling events. She also works in evening programming such as Triple S, Tyra, and After Hours. Monica oversees all interventions such as TWIST ( Transgender Women Involved In Strategies for Transformation ), Community Promise—which is a story telling intervention—and the Peer Advocates program.

Did you know? Monica's favorite color is pink. She has eight pets, and enjoys working for the community from which she came.

Patrick Crosson

Patrick Crosson is the immediate past chairman and founder of Stonewall Sports Chicago, an LGBTQ and ally community-based, non-profit sports organization that strives to raise funds for local non-profit organizations through organized sports.

Patrick formed Stonewall Sports Chicago in 2014, expanding it into an organization covering the entire metropolitan area. The league values each player for who they are and what they bring to the league's community.

Patrick led the organization through expansion, incorporation and filing of their own 501c3 status. The league started with 6 kickball teams ( 140 players ). Stonewall Sports Chicago now has 36 kickball teams ( 860 players ), two seasons of dodgeball, two seasons of bowling, and a season of bocce. The league serves over 1,000 individual LGBTQ and ally members and raises funds for a variety of different charities. The organization has donated more than $150,000.

Did you know? Patrick is currently the owner & executive producer for PC Events & Experiences as a corporate event planner based here in Chicago.

Robin Reid Drake

Robin Reid Drake is an artist and educator from "the Blue Ridge Mountains [and] the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina." Currently living in Logan Square, they hold an MFA in Writing from SAIC and are a recipient of a 2019 Ragdale Residency.

Robin Reid has co-developed and led anti-oppression & writing workshops with adults & youth in numerous settings. They are a former curator and host of Asheville, North Carolina's Juniper Bends Reading Series and have performed in many venues.

In 2018, Robin Reid came together with long-time Chicago artist Diana Solis, to develop and teach curriculum engaging CPS High Schoolers with intersectional queer and trans histories through poetry and art making. They currently work as a teaching artist and development associate with Changing Worlds, who supported the development of Solis and Drake's program.

Did you know? Robin Reid has been spreading the Gospel of Dolly Parton for almost their entire life and has never been taken to DollyWood, which they think is tragic.

Lars Ebsworth

Lars Ebsworth is a Chicago-based actor/singer/dancer. Originally from Baltimore, ze studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, dance team competition styles, voice, children's theater and piano, all of which eventually lead to zir transition into the musical theatre world. Ze graduated cum laude with BA's in both Musical Theater and Theater ( double minor in Music and Dance ) from North Central College. Lars also works "behind the table" with Trans Voices Cabaret CHI, the Chicago chapter of the New York City-based franchise Trans Voices Cabaret. That cabaret-showcase hybrid provides a space to sing whatever songs fit their gender identity, and a casting resource for industry professionals to learn how to include the TGNC performer community in their productions.

Did you know? Lars spends time playing with zir rescue Lhasa Apso/mix named Sir Aaron Carter and inventing new recipes, both good and bad.

Jayden Epps

Jayden Epps is the pro bono and development associate for Lambda Legal, the oldest national legal organization working to secure the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV. Jay's work supports the efforts of the Development team in the Midwest Office and nationally.

In their off hours, Jayden is a theater artist who primarily works as a stage manager. Jayden is also currently an ensemble member of the project FatFolx that centers and lifts the stories of larger-bodied individuals.

Did you know? Jayden is an avid singer. It is not unusual to find them belting along to songs as they commute across Chicago.

Julio Flores

Julio Flores was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and at the age of 12, he moved to the States.

While living in Milwaukee, Julio began volunteering with various organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. At age 23, he decided to move to the Chicago area. Following his passion, Julio started working at the Broadway Youth Center, where he is able to help young people that are experiencing homelessness and daily oppression from society. Julio wants every person he works with to be able to have options to become the person they truly are and to believe in their own potential.

Did you know? Julio's motto in life is, "You do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do."

Maurice Green IV ( Mo )

Maurice Green IV ( Mo ) is currently the director of public affairs at the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Mo has worked in Illinois politics for several years now, having served as the director of community engagement for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, senior community outreach coordinator for Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and in various capacities for several political campaigns.

Mo graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and wrote his senior thesis on community policing in Chicago and the relationship between constituents of color and the Chicago Police Department. While in college, Mo served as President of the Friends of Washington Park Tutoring Organization, a university program that pairs University of Chicago students with local public-school students and academically tutors and mentors them on a tri-weekly basis.

Did you know? Mo has a 110-pound Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog named Koda. Together, the two love long walks, outdoor brunches and afternoon naps.

Alex Hanns

Alex Hanns serves as deputy press secretary for Governor JB Pritzker. He joined Pritzker's gubernatorial campaign in its first weeks and has been a member of the communications team ever since. Prior to that, Alex managed state Rep. Ann Williams's re-election campaign in 2016 and served as communications director for state Sen. John Mulroe. A proud DePaul University alumnus, he received his bachelor's in public relations and advertising in 2017. Alex spends his free time volunteering for Democratic and LGBTQ candidates and organizations.

Did you know? Alex has a nose for rooftop bars and has great Springfield recommendations

Nicole Holmes

Nicole Holmes is manager of the State of Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline at Center on Halsted.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Science in health education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. A native of Chicago, her passion work is rooted in supporting sexual health and overall wellness in marginalized communities, including Black women/girls/femmes, by educating about health disparities; that includes the bi community as well. She currently serves as both a voting member for the Illinois HIV Planning Group and an impact producer for the Black sexuality organization, Sex Kiki.

Previously, Nicole interned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program ( CUPS ) through Morehouse College. She credits her mother Suzanne, sister Alex, aunt Donna and partner Adrian as being her primary cheerleading team, rooting her on in every aspect of her life.

Did you know? Nicole is a former competition swimmer. She considers building her swimming skills to be one of the great accomplishments and challenges of her life.

D'Angelo D'Ontace Keyes

D'Angelo D'Ontace Keyes is an advocate within the Black LGBTQ community. He serves at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, where he mobilizes communities to thrive beyond HIV.

D'Angelo previously served as a commissioner with Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, where he assisted in developing the first government report addressing racism and discrimination in Philadelphia's LGBTQ community. An artist and student, Keyes also received his MBA from Philadelphia University, and a formal arts education from the University of the Arts and Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Did you know? Keyes was a key organizer of Philadelphia Black Pride and architect for MOBI ( Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative ) NYC.

Timmy Knudsen

Timmy Knudsen is a Chicago attorney with one foot entrenched in law and the other in Chicago politics.

At Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Timmy mixes a legal practice in venture capital transactions with a deep commitment to pro bono work, particularly LGBTQ asylum cases. Timmy recently represented a Russian gay man who is seeking asylum in the United States after being stalked on a dating app in Moscow and beaten for his LGBTQ status. In addition, Timmy recently won an asylum case for a gay Palestinian client with similar persecution.

Timmy started working on Democratic political campaigns when he was 19, and most recently served as a member of Lori Lightfoot's Mayoral Campaign Finance Committee. Currently, he advises several other local candidates and has a deep commitment to community engagement in Lincoln Park's 43rd Ward.

Did you know? Timmy loves home renovations—and was featured on an episode of HGTV's House Hunters in 2018.

Katherine Koo

Katherine Koo is a recent graduate from the Masters of Science in Health Systems Management Program at Rush University. With that background in public health, she has worked in the Office of Community Engagement at Rush University Medical Center for the past two years to address the 16-year life expectancy gap on Chicago's west side. She also helped lead efforts to expand access for gender-affirming primary and specialty services at Rush, completed the Human Rights Campaign's Healthcare Equality Index survey, and conducted research on trans and gender non-conforming medical curriculum in the Rush Medical College.

Did you know? Katherine is the principal double bassist ( not the guitar ) for the South Loop Symphony Orchestra, which offers free concerts three times a year.

Jack Ladd

Jack Ladd is a gay digital strategist and writer from Alexandria, Virginia. He moved to Chicago in 2013 to pursue studies in journalism and intercultural communication at DePaul University. He's worked at Hauswirth/Co since its inception in 2017, managing digital strategy for advocacy and political organizations. Empowering Illinoisans to vocally support progressive legislation, issues and organizations through online action has been the highlight of his career. He currently sits on the Advocate Board of Chicago House and is a member of the Equality Illinois Emerging Leaders' Circle.

Did you know? Jack performed at the Kennedy Center in Something's Afoot, an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery musical, as eccentric man-about-town Nigel Rancour, at 17.

Kelsey McGrath

Kelsey McGrath is a fiercely optimistic producer, actor, and writer. Their monthly salon, The Newness, is an intersectional, interdisciplinary event that amplifies LGBTQ+, POC and Femme artists in a space that advocates vulnerability, story telling and community. New Pages, The Newness's new play initiative, brings together artists across identities to develop new theatrical work. Kelsey has written with Perform.Ink and Newcity Stages to shift the contemporary theater criticism paradigm to empower folks of all experiences to engage in arts criticism.

Did you know? Kelsey is a regular member of Bucktown CrossFit and was a competitive Irish dancer for 10 years. They wish love and gratitude to Mama, Austin, Bodhi and Regina.

Roxanne Meyer

Roxanne Meyer is an underwriter of healthcare facilities and providers for CNA Insurance. She determines who can be insured and at what price, while offering additional services to help improve patient safety.

Roxanne has also never shied away from leadership positions in the LGBTQ community. At work, she serves as chair of CNA's LGBTQ Employee Resource Group ( ERG ), Pride@CNA. Under her leadership, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois recognized Pride@CNA as the 2018 ERG of the Year. In the community, Roxanne is the co-chair of the Women's Action Council social events committee for Center on Halsted, and board member of the Legacy Project.

Roxanne also loves to volunteer—she cooks dinner every Thursday for the Center on Halsted Youth Program, work for which the Center awarded her the 2018 Youth Program Volunteer of the Year.

Did you know? Roxanne was born in Paraguay, but doesn't speak Spanish. Instead, she's fluent in French and can read Hebrew.

Catherine Miller

Catherine Miller is a queer non-binary casting director originally from San Diego, California. After Catherine came out, they realized the lack of representation on local stages of non-binary and trans individuals. They began advocating and educating theatre companies about breaking the binary in casting and make audition rooms safe spaces for all. Over the past two years, they've been invited to speak on panels and create workshops for Director's Lab Chicago, The Theatre School at DePaul and Steppenwolf Theatre.

Catherine is a company member at First Floor Theater and most recently has cast for Raven Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, and Red Tape Theatre. They are a nominator for the Kilroy's List and were featured on New City's 2019 Players: The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago. Catherine holds a BFA in Dramaturgy/Criticism from The Theatre School at DePaul. They also happen to be in the Fly Honey Show!

Did you know? When Catherine was ten, they won an all expense paid trip to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure by entering a contest at Target.

Kevin Morrison

Kevin Morrison had an historic election win in 2018 becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected to the Cook County Board. He represents the 15th District of Cook County.

Once sworn into office, his first priority was to pass a resolution and hold a public hearing condemning the Trump Administration's treatment of transgender individuals. He also established a committee to make recommendations on addressing bias, equity, and cultural competency in county government. Kevin is additionally working on legislation to support LGBTQ people living in Cook County including updating the Human Rights Ordinance to be more inclusive of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and to establish a LGBT designation for the supplier diversity program at Cook County.

A native of Chicago, Morrison studied political science, environmental science, and LGBTQ Studies at DePaul University.

Did you know? Kevin speaks 3 languages. Besides his native English, he also speaks Spanish and Italian.

Jose Nateras

Jose Nateras is an "actor/writer et al." with his MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( SAIC ) and a BA in Theater from Loyola University Chicago. Throughout his career, he's acted at theaters such as Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and American Theatre Company and on television programs such as Chicago P.D. and Proven Innocent. Jose has also written plays, worked as a director, performed on improv teams and done stand-up.

He additionally self-published a chapbook of poetry and has been a storyteller for Mortified, The Sidesplitter and others.

From teaching both English at Truman College and Playwriting at CPS high school, to freelancing as a journalist and completing his debut novel ( which is set for release at the end of 2019 ), Jose has continued to stretch himself as an artist and an educator, all the while embracing his identity as a queer person of color and giving voice to his experience as a gay Latino.

Did you know? Jose was born on a military base.

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan is the system manager of community health and benefit at Rush University System for Health. Christopher is also an Instructor in Rush's College of Health Science, where he co-directs the elective "Health Equity and New Models of Care." He is also a member of Rush's Diversity Leadership Council, where he chairs the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning ( LGBTQ+ ) Leadership Council.

Did you know? Christopher moved to Chicago after only having visited one time for an interview, and having no connection to the city. He fell in love with everything Chicago has to offer, and enjoys trying new restaurants and bars, volunteering with area nonprofits, and running along the lake. Christopher will run his fourth marathon this fall.

Angelina Nordstrom

Angelina Nordstrom is a two-spirit woman of trans experience who works as a receptionist for Center on Halsted. Known as one of the most free-spoken lyricists with a story to tell, she has shared many of her poetic pieces on stage in many open and safe spaces. She is also a part of the emerging ensemble ( Cycle 6 ) of Youth Empowerment Performance Project, which she's been involved with since 2017.

Angel also has been serving on the Northside Community Advisory Board ( CAB ) for Howard Brown Health since 2016. She has also served as facilitator and vice president on the Board of Directors for the DBSA ( Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance ) LGBT-Chicago support group since 2015. Angel is currently enrolled at Harold Washington College and her set goal is to practice law as an advocate for the TGNC community and for all marginalized communities.

Did you know? Angel interned with Cook County State's Attorney's Office under the leadership of State's Attorney Kim Foxx and served with AmeriCorps at the same time in 2018.

Markus Pitchford

Markus Pitchford leads public policy efforts for the Mayor of Waukegan, Illinois. His policy experience covers economic development, infrastructure, climate change and sustainability. He has held a multitude of executive leadership roles in Illinois to state-wide campaigns including Kwame Raoul for Attorney General and Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus. Markus was also the youngest elected delegate in the 2012 Democratic National Convention of Illinois.

He chairs the Board of Directors for Campus Pride, an organization working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students and sits on the executive board of Men4Choice. Markus recently joined Congresswoman Robin Kelly's LGBTQ Task Force as well.

Did you know? At the age of 6, Markus "fired" his friends in kindergarten when they didn't play tag at recess. You could say he was always a natural leader.

Ari Pizarro

Ari Pizarro is a recent graduate—with degrees in sociology and the study of women and gender—who engages in the world of activism through photography. As a self proclaimed "foodie," they spend their free time tasting their way around Chicago, as well as curating new designs and products for their small LGBT art shop.

Did you know? Since 7th grade, Ari's all-time favorite show has been Adventure Time.

Bindu Poroori

Bindu Poroori has called Chicago home for nearly eight years, but is originally from sweet sweltering Chennai. She is proud to be part of 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin's team, and part of the organizing collective Chicago Desi Youth Rising. Bindu was most recently interim producer for Steppenwolf Theatre's LookOut series, and prior to that was a New Americans Democracy Project Fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Indo American Center. They are also Lead Curator for the Fly Honey Show, and will always call Salonathon their "curatorial home." Bindu's personal artistic and social practice is at the intersection of poetry, civic dialogue and racial justice. She is always looking for home.

Did you know? Bindu learned to play Indian classical violin for six whole months when she was 12, and will very enthusiastically play you scales on any violin you give her.

Jasean Purdis

Jasean Purdis is a youth leader for the organization Q-yes ( Queer Youth Exploring Spirituality ). Q-yes' mission is inviting youth to learn about or create spirituality within a safe space. Jasean also is involved as a youth leader at Center on Halsted. He recently joined the House of Lauren and has started to help them out with community events. Jasean says that, at the end of the day, he's there to help you out whenever you want.

Did you know? Jasean likes to draw, and enjoys opportunities to stand up for youth who might not be able to stand up for themselves.

Kris Rosentel

Kris Rosentel is a researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health ( Ci3 ) at the University of Chicago.

Kris's research focuses on improving the health and well-being of LGBTQ communities, using an intersectional, structural, and harm reduction lens. Kris's past work has included exploring inequities in the spatial distribution of LGBTQ services in Chicago. They currently serve as the project manager for the Work2Prevent intervention study, a series of employment skills workshops for LGBTQ youth. They are also pursuing a research project examining the Chicago Police Department's enforcement of sex work criminalization laws and its impact on the trans community.

Did you know? The five things that would summon Kris are saucy tofu, puzzle games, their comfy egg chair, maps and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3.

Tommy Schafer

Tommy Schafer is a non-binary queer person from rural Illinois. Tommy is the Program Evaluator at Howard Brown Health, where they coordinate the FOCUS opt-out HIV screening program, which seeks to institutionalize and normalize HIV screening in primary care settings.

Tommy developed several abstracts that have been presented nationwide showing that opt-out screening benefits LGBTQ+ people by lowering barriers to knowing one's HIV status, more rapidly suppressing HIV viral load following diagnosis, easing conversations with providers about sexual health and promoting the practice of hepatitis vaccination and screening. They also work with local emergency departments to implement HIV screening in that setting.

Tommy, who studied at University of Illinois at Chicago, currently evaluates programs seeking to provide employment to LGBTQ+ youth and increase access to healthcare for folks working in cash and gig economies, as well as aspects of a community-based participatory research project which is establishing a database for national transgender health research.

Did you know? Tommy is an avid knitter, house plant enthusiast, guinea pig mom and a marathon/triathlon runner for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's charity Team 2 End AIDS.

Ashley Tolliver

Ashley Tolliver was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood. She is the youngest of 11 sisters and four brothers.

Her overarching career goals are supporting the liberation of Black cis and trans women and girls, and she hopes to influence healthcare policies in Chicago neighborhoods and beyond. Ashley has a 1-year-old baby daughter named Alora Jolie. Ashley's current role is at the Broadway Youth Center as the Health Advocacy Coordinator, where she supports young people navigating their way through the healthcare system.

Did you know? Ashley is afraid of the dark, the progression of time, fish and birds.

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