Shriver Center Virtual Gala

A Call for Racial Justice

The awakening of consciousness around systemic racism and its role in creating and perpetuating poverty is an opportunity to move our communities into action.

Join the Shriver Center on Poverty Law for a special series of virtual events to inspire the movement for economic and racial justice, while raising crucial funds to support our work.

This special, three-day event will feature artists, activists, advocates, and others working for racial justice, with a focus on the importance of reshaping laws and policies to bring systemic change. Together, we can build a future where all people, families, and future generations have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law. Please join us.

Read through our list of anti-racism resources, sign our petition for change, download the virtual gala program book, and use the hashtag #ShriverGala20 to share your favorite moments from the event.

Illustration by Trap Bob

Day One: Activating the Nation

Hosted by the Shriver Center’s Professionals’ Council, this event will bring together artists and advocates to discuss the role that visual and performing arts have to play in the fight for racial justice.



Born and raised on Chicago’s West side, Bella BAHHS (Black Ancestors Here Healing Society) is a raptivist, spoken word artist, storyteller, and movement strategist. She 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.

Kendrick Sampson

Kendrick Sampson is an actor and activist from the suburbs of Houston, Texas, where he was surrounded by musicians and artists and naturally gravitated to the arts. Kendrick starred in the 2020 Sundance and SXSW award winning film Miss Juneteenth directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples. He also leads Freeform’s MOW Ghosting and is a regular on HBO’s Insecure. He began his career on various television series including Greek, CSI, The Vampire Diaries, and the FOX miniseries Gracepoint. He had recurring roles as ‘Caleb Hapstall’ on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, ‘Robbie MacDonald’ in Showtime’s White Famous, and ‘Dominic Lance’ on The CW’s The Flash. Kendrick uses his voice to empower marginalized communities and to shine light on issues of inequity. His activism is focused on racial justice, specifically intersectionality within criminal justice reform and uniting Black, Brown, & Indiginous communities. He is a proud supporter of the Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter movements, progressive political campaigns, and social justice education.

Rudi Hancock

As the Shriver Center’s Government Relations Liaison, Rudi Hancock works to advance advocacy and policy initiatives for economic and racial justice at the Illinois State Legislature. She brings eight years of state government experience to her role, including past positions with former Lt. Governor Pat Quinn’s office, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Janerick Holmes

Janerick Holmes is the Associate Director of the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute. Holmes helps engage equal justice advocates across the country through online trainings and works to support collaboration through the Racial Justice Institute Network, a growing cadre of more than 300 advocates committed to advancing a coordinated racial justice advocacy agenda. Prior to joining the Shriver Center, Janerick worked as a Communications Associate at the Mississippi Center for Justice.

Day Two: Disrupting the System

Learn about the historical context of racial injustice and the imperative to dismantle structural racism in systems, laws and policies at the state and federal level.

Due to speaking agreements, we cannot rebroadcast day two programming.


Credit: James Estrin - The New York Times
Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones is an awardwinning investigative reporter who covers civil rights and racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. Hannah-Jones 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 by examining slavery’s modern legacy and reframing the way we understand this history and the contributions of black Americans to the nation. She has written extensively about school resegregation across the country and chronicled the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. 

Credit: Stephen Voss
Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He will become the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. 

Audra Wilson

Audra Wilson is the President & CEO of the Shriver Center. Wilson has been a champion for racial and economic justice for more than 20 years as a public interest lawyer and teacher, policy shaper, community mobilizer, and experienced executive manager. Wilson began her career as a Welfare Advocacy Staff Attorney at the Shriver Center, and has worked with then-state-Senator Barack Obama, at Northwestern University School of Law, as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Robin Kelly, and as Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois. Throughout her career, Wilson has focused on the voices and experiences of communities of color and communities most impacted by injustice.

Day Three: Empowering Young Voices

This family-friendly event will encourage parents and caregivers to talk with children about racial and economic justice and invite kids of all ages to share a fun dance class.


As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site
Dr. Faith Sproul

Faith M. Sproul, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in independent practice in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sproul specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults. She has provided services and consultation to children, families, and teachers in schools and behavioral health settings including extensive work with Head Start, a low-income federal program serving young children. Dr. Sproul’s pragmatic advice for talking with children about race and police violence was recently featured on The Root 

Phil Wright

Phil Wright is 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™.” Wright founded “The Parent Jam™” in 2017 when he was inspired to bring kids and their families together through dance. Streamed online, his high energy dance classes are designed to encourage positivity, love and understanding within families around the world. He has worked with some of the biggest names in music including Lil Nas X, Will Smith, MC Hammer, TLC and G-Eazy and Cardi B.

Gala Sponsors


For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Harleen Singh at 312.368.1098.

Host Committee

Honorary Chair

Congresswoman Robin Kelly

Gala Co-Chairs

Commissioner Bill Lowry

Hon. Ann Claire Williams (Ret.)

Committee Members

Dr. Janice Blanchard & Dr. Eneya Mulagha

John Bouman & Robin Schirmer

Pat Byrnes & Lisa Madigan

Debbie & David Chizewer

Brandon & Sarah Clark

Steven & Amy Eppler-Epstein

Sunny & Paul Fischer

Jonathan McGee

Maria & David Pesqueira

Eugene & Faith Schoon

Raj & Neeta Vohra

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