Activists, Artists, Advocates Highlight Three-Day Virtual Gala for Shriver Center on Poverty Law Oct. 7-9

“A Call for Racial Justice” seeks to inform, create dialogue, mobilize action and change.

Ambar Mentor-Truppa
(312) 809-8048;  

“A Call for Racial Justice” seeks to inform, create dialogue, mobilize action and change.

CHICAGO, (September 1, 2020) – The Shriver Center on Poverty Law will host a three-evening virtual gala, A Call for Racial Justice, on Oct. 7-9, bringing together leading Chicago and national activists, artists and advocates to spur conversation and mobilize the movement for economic and racial justice. The live-streamed events will raise funds to support the Shriver Center’s focus on reshaping laws and policies to bring systemic change to structural racism. Each evening will highlight a different theme, and feature guests including actor and activist Kendrick Sampson, writers Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ibram X. Kendi, and producer and choreographer Phil Wright. 

“We are in moment of an awakening around systemic racism and its role in creating and perpetuating poverty,” says Shriver Center President & CEO, Audra Wilson. “Our gala aims to create an opportunity to move our communities into action. We are excited to welcome Black leaders from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the various paths we can take to create change.” 

Tickets will go on sale in early September. Each evening’s event will begin at 6pm cst. 

Day one, Oct. 7: Activating the Nation, hosted by the Shriver Center’s Professionals Council, brings together artists and advocates to discuss the role that visual and performing arts can play in the fight for racial justice. Speakers include: actor and activist Kendrick Sampson, known for roles in How to Get Away with Murder and Insecure, and the co-founder of BLD PWR which works at the intersection of grassroots and narrative activism, and Chicago’s Bella BAHHS (Black Ancestors Here Healing Society), a raptivist, spoken word artist, storyteller, and movement strategist. Bella was thrust into the national spotlight in 2015 when a video of her heartfelt performance at a local march for justice for Laquan McDonald went viral. 

Day two, Oct. 8: Disrupting the System addresses the historical context of racial and economic injustice and the path to dismantling structural racism in systems, laws and policies at the state and federal level. The evening will feature a discussion with Shriver Center President and CEO Audra Wilson, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Hannah-Jones, who covers civil rights and racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine, is the creator of the landmark 1619 Project, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in what would become the United States. Kendi is a leading antiracist voice, New York Times bestselling author, and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. 

Day three: Empowering Young Voicesa family-friendly event, will encourage parents and caregivers to talk with children about racial and economic justice. The evening will feature a panel discussion led by licensed clinical psychologist Faith M. Sproul, Ph.D., who will interview families about their discussions on race. The panel will be followed by an activity with Phil Wright, executive producer and choreographer of “Disney Fam Jam, the new family dance competition show on The Disney Channel based off of his viral sensation “The Parent Jam™”. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals or corporations interested in fueling the Shriver Center’s work. Contact Harleen Singh at 312.368.1098 or for more information. 

Together, we can build a future where all people, families, and future generations have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law. 


The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over our 50-year history, we have secured hundreds of victories with and for people living in poverty in Illinois and across the country. Today, we litigate, shape policy, and train and convene multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders, and activists nationwide. Together, we are building a future where all people have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law. Join the fight at

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