Bestselling Author, Speaker and Podcast Host Luvvie Ajayi Jones to Headline the Shriver Center’s Annual Gala on Sept. 22

The Shriver Center is thrilled to announce Chicago native Luvvie Ajayi Jones as the keynote speaker for the Homecoming Gala: Justice Reimagined.

Dawn Raftery

CHICAGO — Join more than 500 advocates, activists and supporters at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s annual gala Thursday, Sept. 22, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk.

Headlining the event will be Luvvie Ajayi Jones, an internationally recognized speaker whose leadership on culture, authenticity and disruption enables transformative action. Her renowned TED Talk, “Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable,” has over 8 million views and has placed her in the top 1% of TED Talks of all time. Ajayi Jones is the host of a podcast of the same name as her best-selling book, “Professional Troublemaker.” Born in Nigeria, Ajayi Jones grew up in Chicago. She will share ways we can take action, cause “good trouble” and lead courageous lives driven by conviction, humor and honesty.

“The Shriver Center on Poverty Law is a disruptor for good in the fight against injustice and poverty,” Ajayi Jones said. “I’m excited to attend their Homecoming Gala and be in community with hundreds of equity champions and change-makers. I can’t wait to discuss professional troublemaking and talk about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

“The pandemic has deepened longstanding inequities that affect Black and Latino/a/x communities the most,” Shriver Center President and CEO Audra Wilson said. “The fight for racial and economic justice — and our need to work together — has never been more urgent. Join us as we reconnect, reimagine and renew our commitment to a nation free from racism and poverty.”

The cocktail reception-style event will include a silent action and special guest DJ Farley “Jackmaster” Funk. Legendary producer Funk catapulted house music into a global phenomenon over 35 years ago in Chicago. One of the original members of the Hot Mix 5 on WBMX, Farley has recorded over 3,000 songs. His biggest track is still the groundbreaking song, “Love Can’t Turn Around,” which was the first house music song ever to top the UK British charts. 

Funds raised at the event will support the Shriver Center’s mission and advocacy work. Individuals and corporations interested in supporting the Shriver Center’s work can contact Keenya Lambert at 312.368.1073 or Tickets are now on sale.


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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