2020 Chicago Finalists
Outstanding Service Male, local
Dr. Russell Brewer is research faculty at the University of Chicago who is working to improve the health and well-being of people living with HIV, black gay men, and formerly incarcerated individuals in Chicago and the Depp South.
Outstanding Service Transgender, local
I am a lyricist, poet, and advocate based in Chicago, Illinois. As a two-spirit, Indigenous black trans femme who grew up in the south (Memphis, Tennessee) and has indigenous roots with the Choctaw tribe, I bring a unique perspective to my work. My written pieces have been published in compilations such as the TransWorks of Chicago House, Infinite Genders: You Can't Read With Us, and Changing The Story. As a writer, I have been creating pieces for over 20 years. I am finalizing my debut poetry anthology, slated for a fall 2022 release. As an advocate, I facilitate educational workshops and regularly serve as a panelist for discussions about trans/diverse gender issues. I serve as a director on multiple boards across the Chicagoland area.Visit website
Outstanding Service Female, local
Hope PickettOutstanding Service
Hope Pickett believes education creates understanding, understanding breeds uplift, and uplift fosters change. She believes that by facilitating community education today, she's laying the foundation to make driving progress easier for the community leaders of tomorrow. In her tireless work as an activist and philanthropist, Ms. Pickett drove and executed on several community projects centered around advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community. These projects include driving awareness and progress for trans rights, acting as a mentor to several LGBTQ youth, leading and organizing marches, working in LGBTQ homeless youth shelters, and organizing food drives for those impacted by COVID in the black and brown communities. Ms. Pickett has been recognized as one of the country's leading Black Female Strategists and Powerful Black Woman to Watch in Illinois Politics. As Strategist and Finance Director for Flourish PAC a Black-led PAC and, as Political and Community Engagement Chair for Human Rights Campaign Chicago. Additionally, she's contributed to her expertise and efforts to Action NOW, YEPP, GLSEN, and AFSP. She's also taken her activism to disrupting the political machine, in service of progressive candidates aligned with continuing the fight — acting most recently as finance director for the Kina Collins (IL-07) US congressional campaign and currently Dani Brzozowski (IL-16) US congressional campaign, while coordinating efforts with at least eight other campaigns in the Chicago area. Hope draws inspiration from her ancestors and the leaders who came before her, showing reverence by continuing to fight in tribute to those who devoted (and gave) their lives to the causes she continues to champion. She's made it her ongoing mission to continue to mentor, educate, and create space for Black LGBTQ leaders to lead in the political sector and serve on more community boards. With more of "us" able to claim and lead these spaces, there will be a greater understanding of what's specifically needed and what decisions need to be made, and therefore the policies that must be written to strengthen the communities.