View from the Ground: Narratives from within Chicago

Wednesday – June 28

8:30am to 9:45am

Goodman Center

In reaction to the national narrative that has painted Chicago in a less than an authentic fashion, panelists explore the varying local narratives that define our host city and its many communities.

Solomon_Sheila.jpgSheila Solomon is an award-winning former newspaper reporter and editor and has worked for the Hampton Monitor, Daily Press, Newsday, The Charlotte Observer and Chicago Tribune. Currently she’s a senior consultant in Chicago for the Democracy Fund (based in Washington, D.C.) and the manager of recruiting and internships at Rivet Radio (based in Chicago). Among her honors is being inducted into the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Hall of Fame at Hampton University (Hampton, Va.) and the Ida B. Wells award, given by Medill and the National Association of Black Journalists. She just completed her fifth year as a judge for the National Headliner Awards, has been a lecturer and adjunct professor and serves on numerous journalism-related boards and advisory committees. 
Benito_Lawrence.jpegLawrence Benito is ICIRR’s CEO/Executive Director.  In his role, he is responsible for running all facets of the organization.  Lawrence has a proven executive track record and over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations.  Formerly as Deputy Director for ICIRR, he was the lead of the senior management team, overseeing the program and political operations.  He also served as the agency’s in-house lobbyist.  During his tenure at ICIRR, he has organized in the north and northwest suburbs of Illinois, and directed ICIRR’s State-funded programs.  Lastly, he is also the executive director of Illinois Immigrant Action – ICIRR’s 501c4 sister organization, which engages in more targeted issue advocacy work.Lawrence is a proud alumnus of the 2009 class of Leadership Greater Chicago, and the 2011 Shannon Leadership Institute. Currently, he is on the board of directors for Chicago Public Media, and immediate past President of the Asian American Action Fund of Chicago.  He earned a BA in Economics from Marquette University, and Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago.

Holliday_Darryl.jpgDarryl Holliday is a journalist, multimedia storyteller and reformed crime reporter based in Chicago. He’s the editorial director and co-founder of City Bureau, a civic media lab based on Chicago’s South Side, and a producer with the Invisible Institute. In 2011, Darryl co-founded Illustrated Press, a media production collective covering urban issues with sequential art and traditional reporting.

Serrato_Jackie.jpgJackie Serrato is a local journalist and a media curator for the Little Village neighborhood. She launched the La Villita, Chicago Facebook page before other major news outlets switched to digital platforms or hyper-local coverage, and her page reached 100,000 followers in August 2016.

La Villita page is popular for embracing the language of the internet and the voice of the people. With the help of fellow community residents, Jackie started to report on gang shootings and other block happenings that normally took a long time to make it into the mainstream media.

She also made sure to mention the positive aspects of the Little Village community, including business successes, community events and good work being done by non-profits, churches, and regular folks. The GoFundMe fundraiser for Don Fidencio, La Villita’s elderly paletero, went viral in large part due to the support of Jackie’s Facebook page. Don Fidencio’s GoFundMe raised $384 thousand.

She attended Chicago Public Schools and later graduated from Colgate University in New York, where she majored in Latin American Studies and minored in Spanish-language Literature with an emphasis in Anthropology.

Jackie won a fellowship to work at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, has freelanced for DNAinfo and Chicagoist, and was a producer for a TV documentary about the Pilsen community at WTTW Channel 11 that premiered this spring.

Jackie Serrato has also led online campaigns to promote the vote on behalf of the Latino Policy Forum and rally for a $15 minimum wage for fast food and retail workers with the Fight For 15.