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CUE 2024 Annual Showcase: A Day of Inspiration

Updated: 2 days ago

On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory was the ideal location for the vibrant hub of inspiration, dialogue, and community as Chicago United for Equity (CUE) hosted its 2024 Annual Showcase. This year's event brought together over 150 members of our community, united in celebration of the 2023 Fellows and the work of our CUEmmunity, all working toward achieving racial equity in Chicago.

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Rachel Pate, CUE’s Director of Civic Programming, shared reflections on the work of the last year and announced the 2024 CUE Fellows, highlighting the launch of the sixth cohort. Many 2024 Fellows were in attendance, which gave them the opportunity to meet the 2023 Fellows, Alumni, and CUE’s network members.

Photo of 2023 CUE Fellows by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

2023 Fellows' Projects

2023 Fellows spoke to attendees about their projects, sharing many of their insights and future goals related to their projects. Three Fellows presented their projects as part of the program, shedding light on the themes present in the Fellows’ projects and the importance of cross-sectoral work. 

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Chris Bridges, One Village Nation

It Takes A Village Nation (ITAVN) is a social platform founded by Chris Bridges. It is designed to provide a safe and collaborative digital space for activists, organizers, businesses, and community members globally. The platform addresses the challenge of unsafe and privacy-compromising mainstream social media by offering an alternative that prioritizes user safety and privacy. ITAVN enables users to connect, share resources, and mobilize around social justice causes, supporting communities of color and encouraging coalition building and activism. The next steps for ITAVN include a fundraising campaign, recruitment of beta users, and optimizing the user experience for a full platform launch. Learn more at

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Alana Warren, Civic Federation

The Civic Federation is addressing the funding disparities in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where students of color are particularly affected. Although the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula was designed to provide adequate funding to under-resourced districts, CPS was only funded at 75% in fiscal year 2023 and is projected to be 81% funded in 2024, falling short of the 100% target by 2027. Alana’s project includes a Racial Equity Impact Assessment to evaluate how equitable the EBF formula is, especially in marginalized communities like Englewood. This assessment will inform advocacy efforts, increase transparency, and support equitable budgeting practices to improve the educational experiences of underserved students. Visit for the short-form report, or email Alana to learn more at

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Kristen Garcia, Afton Partners

Kristen is addressing inequities in early care and education (ECE) by developing a racial equity framework to guide systemic change initiatives. Recognizing that access to high-quality ECE services is unevenly distributed across racial, ethnic, income, and geographic lines, this framework will help Afton incorporate racial equity into every phase of its projects. By collaborating with Illinois state agencies, Afton aims to transform funding, governance, and policies to close opportunity gaps and promote justice. The next steps involve finalizing the framework, piloting it, gathering feedback, and refining it to ensure it effectively supports equitable ECE systems. Find more details about the framework and our approach in the near future on Afton’s blog.

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

Sonseriya Williams, Teamwork Englewood

Teamwork Englewood is championing the reopening of the Green Line station at 63rd and Racine to improve transit access and stimulate economic reinvestment in the community. Despite a 93% community vote in favor, the challenge remains to secure the necessary support, resources, and funding for this transit-oriented development. This resident-led effort seeks to transform vacant spaces, reclaim community assets, and implement a focused investment strategy, demonstrating the power of community-driven initiatives. The next steps include conducting a feasibility study, increasing community engagement, forming a coalition, and facilitating meetings with representatives to ensure the project’s success. Sign the online petition!

Photo by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography

We closed the evening with an impassioned request to invest in our work from two board members and Alumn, Tiffany Ford (2018 Fellow ) and Lauren Burdette (2019 Fellow). They highlighted their commitment to CUE and the importance of our collective work. 

Below are a few images from our event. Find the full album here.

All photos by Elia L. Alamillo - E.L.A. Photography


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