2018 Chicago Finalists

eta Creative Arts Foundation

Artistic Expression

eta Creative Arts Foundation
Theatre Crew

eta Creative Arts Foundation is proud to accept the Chicago Esteem Award for Artistic Expression. eta continues to preserve the aesthetic of African American life and cultural through the works of our artists throughout the Diaspora. Our plays are part of an epic tale of victory over tremendous adversity. The diversity of our voices matter. Each has a story to tell.

Kemati J. Porter Producing Artistic Director

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Reeling The Chicago LGBTQ International Film Fest

Special Recognition

Reeling The Chicago LGBTQ International Film Fest
Film Producer

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival is the second-longest running LGBTQ film festival in the world. Reeling was founded in 1981 to recognize and celebrate the important artistic contributions that LGBTQ filmmakers have made to film culture and to counteract the stereotypical LGBTQ representation prevalent in mainstream movies with valid, meaningful, and diverse portrayals of LGBTQ characters and stories. Reeling takes place in September and presents approximately 50 programs of the best LGBTQ films from around the globe.

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The National LGBTQ Task Force

Outstanding Social Services/CBO

The National LGBTQ Task Force
Activist

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We're building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That's why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. We are the country's oldest national LGBTQ advocacy group in 1973. Some of you remember it well and some of you had not been born yet. Most states had anti-sodomy laws on the books — and enforced them. That's what the Stonewall raid was all about. Besides having laws against it, being lesbian or gay had a profound stigma and homosexuality was still considered a mental illness. It was common for parents to send their child to a mental institution after finding out the child was gay. The founding members of the Task Force, including Dr. Howard Brown, Martin Duberman, Barbara Gittings, Ron Gold, Frank Kameny, Nathalie Rockhill and Bruce Voeller, knew it was time to create change on a national level. October of 1973 in New York City, the National Gay Task Force was started, then transforming to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. And today, we're the National LGBTQ Task Force.

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The Sip

Outstanding Podcast/Internet Based Video or Audio

The Sip
Activist

The Sip unites three black men from diverse occupations and life journeys to embark on a quest to discover and report on everything from world headline news to pop culture; all from a Black LGBTQ perspective. The show airs Friday nights from 6pm - 8pm (CST) on Urban Broadcast Media.

Derrick  Clifton

Future Leaders / Outstanding Millennial

Derrick Clifton
Activist, Author

Derrick Clifton, 29, is an award-winning writer, commentator and speaker on issues of identity, culture and politics - with attention to race, gender and LGBT rights. Their work has appeared at NBC News, The Root, Vox, The Guardian, Windy City Times, Chicago Reader and more. Clifton is the Manager of Communications for ProPublica Illinois, the first regional outpost of the four-time Pulitzer Prize winning news site dedicated to investigative journalism. Clifton, who is queer and gender-fluid, is working on a memoir aimed at help readers understand the uniquely beautiful yet turbulent coming-of-age experiences for queer and gender variant people of color. "It takes all kinds to elevate awareness of intersectionality in media and mainstream culture, and it's been the blessing of my life to help advance a Black, queer and feminist perspective," said Clifton. "This award touches me not only because of the affirmation, but because it's coming from my community."

Maria Hadden

Outstanding Service, Female

Maria Hadden
Activist

Maria Hadden's expertise in public participation is grounded in grassroots organizing efforts for social change. In both her professional and civic life, she creates space for effective public engagement and the implementation of transformative processes. Maria is a founding board member of the Participatory Budgeting Project and from 2010-2018 led their technical assistance work in the Midwest and Southern United States. She earned her B.A. in International Peace and Conflict Studies from The Ohio State University before moving to Illinois to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA. Maria's interests in community voice and the role of civil society were the focus on her graduate studies at DePaul University where she earned an M.S. in International Public Service Management. Maria serves on the board of directors for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and Voqal. She lives with her partner and their two dogs in Chicago, IL.

Lamont Robinson, Jr.

Outstanding Service, Male

Lamont Robinson, Jr.
Business Owner

Lamont Robinson Jr. was born and lives in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a bachelor's degree in management and marketing from Clark Atlanta University in 2004, and his MBA in business administration from National Maria Hadden's expertise in public participation is grounded in grassroots organizing efforts for social change. In both her professional and civic life, she creates space for effective public engagement and the implementation of transformative processes. Maria is a founding board member of the Participatory Budgeting Louis University in 2012. Robinson's career experience includes owning and operating Robinson and Associates-Allstate. He is currently a member on the Board of Quad Communities Development Corporation. Mr. Robinson is being honored as the first openly gay African-American person to win a primary for the Illinois General Assembly. He's currently running for the 5th Congressional District.

Vanessa  Sheridan

Outstanding Service, Transgender

Vanessa Sheridan
Activist

Sheridan is the Director of Transgender Relations and Community Engagement at The Center on Halsted