avery r. young, Urban Gateways Teaching Artist honored with $50,000 grant

News • Media Mentions

“Surprise.” “Amazing.” “Fantastic.” “So exciting.” All are words used by some of the 10 recipients of the Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago award, announced Tuesday by the foundation, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The awards — centered in areas of art, justice and media/storytelling — are part of Field’s ongoing investment in individuals’ and organizations’ ongoing efforts to address racial justice and systemic bias in Chicago’s marginalized and underserved communities. Launched in 2019, the MacArthur Foundation committed $4.2 million to recognize and support diverse leaders from communities affected by Chicago’s history of structural racism, discrimination and disinvestment.

The $50,000 award is divided in half — $25,000 for the recipient’s personal use and $25,000 for the affiliated organization’s general operations.

The 10 recipients include:

  • Kevin Iega Jeff, co-founder of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and creative/executive director of Deeply Rooted Productions;
  • Scheherazade Tillet, co-founder and executive director of A Long Walk Home, an art organization that empowers young people to end violence against Black girls and women;
  • avery young, award-winning artist, composer, and producer, a teaching artist with Urban Gateways, which helps youth overcome social and economic barriers to access Chicago’s artistic and cultural vitality;

  • Antonio Gutierrez, strategic coordinator and co-founder of Organized Communities Against Deportations, an organization that defends its communities, challenges the institutions that target and dehumanize them, and builds collective power;
  • Dixon Romeo, de facto leader of Not Me We, a community organization focusing on housing, organization education, and mutual aid (which evolved from weekly mutual aid grocery distribution and tenant organizing in 2020);
  • Tanya Watkins, executive director of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, a multi-issue, faith-based, social justice organization that assists residents in building power;
  • Dorene Wiese, chief executive officer of the American Indian Association of Illinois, an urban-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming American Indian education into an experience founded in Native culture, language, and history;
  • Trina Reynolds-Tyler, director of data for Invisible Institute, whose mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable;
  • Irene Romulo, development and community engagement coordinator and co-founder of Cicero Independiente, a hyperlocal, bilingual news outlet focused on government accountability and cultural presence in Cicero.


This article originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Read the full story on the Chicago Tribune website here >>