The Stand for Chicago Council is a group of individuals from both inside and outside the sport who are charged with ensuring the project gives voice to the diverse people of Chicago. The advisory council is being chaired by author, poet and activist Kevin Coval who is the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors. He has authored more than a dozen books including “A People’s History of Chicago.”
As a part of their involvement on the advisory council, each member is representing a Chicago non-profit, listed below. Chicago Fire FC will be donating $5,000 to each council member’s selected organization.
Kevin Coval is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning poet and author of “Everything Must Go: The Life & Death of an American Neighborhood,” “A People's History of Chicago” and more than ten other full-length collections, anthologies and chapbooks. He is the founding editor of The BreakBeat Poets imprint on Haymarket Books, Artistic Director of the MacArthur Award-winning cultural organization, Young Chicago Authors, and founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, the world's largest youth poetry festival, now in more than 20 cities across North America.
Non-profit: Young Chicago Authors
Tracy Baim, Chicago Reader president and co-publisher, is co-founder of Windy City Times and author or co-author of 12 books. Baim is in the National LGBT Journalists Association Hall of Fame, Association of Women Journalists-Chicago Hall of Fame, and the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. She has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists-Chicago and a Studs Terkel Award. She played soccer for 25 years, including in the early years of the Illinois Women’s Soccer League, and as a starting right halfback for Schwaben during a pivotal 1980 trip to West Germany, where they beat all eight of their opponents.
Non-profit: Reader Institute for Community Journalism, Inc
Drew Conner was born and raised in Cary, a northwest suburb of Chicago. He played in the Chicago Fire Academy before an impressive four years at the University of Wisconsin. Conner began his pro career in 2016 when he was signed by the Fire as a Homegrown Player. He spent three seasons with the Club before spending time at 1. SC Znojmo in the Czech Republic and Indy Eleven (United Soccer League). Off the field, Conner works to bring people together through music, culture and soccer. As a lifelong fan of the Fire, he is passionate about the Club, its history, and its connection to the people of Chicago.
Non-profit: No Kid Hungry
Liz Flores is a Chicago-based painter and muralist whose work explores the human condition and female form, and how movement and shape can be used as a mode of visual storytelling. Flores, who grew up in Berwyn, IL, made the leap from corporate America into the art world six years ago. In this time, she has shared her story on the TEDx stage, CreativeMornings Chicago, brought an interactive art installation titled ‘The World We Want’ to Michigan Avenue, and collaborated with major brands like Lululemon and Jack Daniels. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the city and is driven by her interests in community, womanhood, and self-reflection.
Non-profit: Healthy Hood Chicago
A Chicagoland native, Sarah Gorden is a professional soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars and U.S. Women’s National Team. Earlier this year, she founded the non-profit organization HoodSpace Chi to help girls of color find their space of flow through yoga, meditation and sport. When not representing the city of Chicago on the field, Gorden can be found modeling for brands such as Venus Gillette, Nike, Puma and others. She has also served as an event host for Footlocker and U.S. Soccer and spent time broadcasting on ESPN and the Big East Network, among others. An active member of the community, Gorden recently raised over $15,000 through her initiative “Pass it on” for Get Yo Mind Right Chi, a free mental wellness non-profit therapy service for low-income communities. Gorden calls the neighborhood of Humboldt Park home, where she lives with her son, Caiden.
Non-profit: HoodSpace Chi
Joseph Perez, best known as “Sentrock,” is a self-taught street artist. Sentrock witnessed street art as a form of expression, birthing his interest to pick a spray can and continue expressing. His early works were developed from graffiti writing in Mexican-American neighborhoods. Sentrock’s signature bird-mask over a human figure has become his most recognizable declaration. He describes his bird-mask as analogous to humanity: a person who is able to find or escape to their freedom by placing them in a different reality. Through his work, he has become a catalyst for his community. His work presents undertones of hope, freedom and expression. His work encapsulates his background, history, upbringing, as well as empathy and compassion for his community.
Non-profit: Yollo Calli
Dwight is a multi-disciplinary creative who utilizes insights to inspire, innovate and maintain relevance with culture through creativity. He has worked to build strategies for growth with organizations across industries by understanding complex societal structures and current behaviors of consumers. With a background in Marketing and Consumer Insights, White has been inspired by the ways in which one can capture truth visually to engage and connect with the people. He loves the challenge of taking the consumer beyond just seeing the art - he believes they should feel it. His confidence and commitment to his craft is inspiring as he embraces his function in society to document the history of connected cultural experiences through art. His calling is to create and inspire as he continues on his journey as an artist. His love for people and insights comes to life through paintings on canvas, large scale walls (murals) and public communications after respectfully studying his subjects to share authentic stories and truths. Every day, he lives the life of a business and artist professional - truly defining what it means to be an “Artrepreunuer.”
Non-profit: Common Ground Foundation