News

PLEASE JOIN US for a special preview of the nearly finished documentary film
THE BOYS WHO SAID NO.

 

The work-in-progress story of the men who resisted the draft and those who supported them. Nearly 60 years ago, against the background of the quiet conformity of the 1950s, in the face of a seemingly senseless war in a country they had never heard of, a small group of young men refused to register or serve in the U.S. Army. As we confront the resurgence of militarism, bigotry and nativism today, their story reminds us of what has always been best in our history – the fight against tyranny and hatred – and reminds us of what is possible when we act.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

6:00pm-9:00pm

Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted St.)

Food and drinks will be served.

Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Judith Ehrlich, The Boys Who Said NO! will tell for the first time the inspiring story and impact of the Vietnam War draft resistance movement.

If you wish to donate visit donate:

Admission free. Join us. Preview the film. And if you believe, as we do, that it’s important, please donate to its completion.

Download the promotional flyer here.

Fri, Dec 13, 2019

[English]

Show your support for Chicago's teachers, staff, and students!

Tell the world why you support an equitable public education system in Chicago.

Share a photo of you holding your own message of solidarity and support on social media.

Download this sign in red or black and complete your own message of why you support the

Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Red

Black

Tag @ctulocal1 and @CrossroadsFund in your post.

Use the hashtags #PutItInWriting and #FairContractNow.

Learn more about our grantees supporting education justice here.

 

[Español]

¡Muestre su apoyo a los maestros, el personal y los estudiantes de Chicago!

Dígale al mundo por qué apoya un sistema de educación pública equitativo en Chicago.

Comparta una foto de usted con su propio mensaje de solidaridad y apoyo en las redes sociales.

Descargue este letrero en rojo o negro y completa su propio mensaje de por qué apoya la huelga del

Sindicato de Maestros de Chicago.

Rojo

Negro

Etiqueta @ctulocal1 y @CrossroadsFund en tu publicación.

Use los hashtags #PutItInWriting y #FairContractNow.

Aprende más sobre nuestros beneficiarios apoyando justicia educativa aquí.

Tue, Oct 22, 2019

 photo by Michael Salisbury

Ric Wilson, is a 23 year old artist, entertainer, and prison abolitionist from Chicago.

Learn more about Ric here.

Chicago has a vibrant art scene right now, in multiple ways, multiple art forms and obviously a very thriving organizing ecosystem. How have these two worlds contributed to the growth of the other?

I think that creative folks have always been the more critically thinking folks. They are usually the folks that influence social movements happening. My first panel discussion was with Dick Gregory at an event that Crossroads Fund sponsored. I was impressed by how he was a very creative actor and comedian and he still played a major role in the Freedom Summer. There is a long history of that here in Chicago. I remember being a young person and seeing the two merge and seeing, you know, Chance the Rapper kind of being born of those two communities and myself born of the two communities. We have the No Names, the Sabas. We have Jamila Woods. We have Bree Kapri. We have Chris Thompson. We have these folks through programs like Young Chicago Authors or YouMedia, just the ones I’ve been a part of. They kind of create these artists and give these artists the responsibilities to hold a certain status or higher standards to do something that benefits the community and I’m just a baby of that.

As a young person, you were a Freedom Follow at Chicago Freedom School (CFS) and you were a part of We Charge Genocide campaign. How do those particular experiences, among others, influence and inform the kind of music and art you create today?

When I did CFS, Mariame Kaba and Mia Henry took me under their wing. I went to events with them and met folks within the community who were organizing and learning what organizing looks like just by watching folks and, then, also being part of the open mic scene and seeing young people grow in their artistry. I got together with a lot of people in Chicago who were already organizing against policing, against different aspects of the prison system. A group came together and formed “We Charge Genocide” as a coalition. I got introduced to that through Mariame, who thought that I could learn how to be a vital part of it. I went to college for a year at Clark Atlanta and by the time I came back to the community and, it's like two to three years later, I became a part of it, things start growing, the music scene in Chicago is growing, the activism and organizing community in Chicago is growing. That's what I mean when I say I’m a baby of it because I was in the intersections of both of these communities and saw them merging into one. I remember just because of what happened after Darren Wilson killed Mike Brown and the growth of Black Lives Matter - everyone knows the power and impact of Black Lives Matter -  and I remember Louder Than A Bomb that year not hearing one poem that wasn’t about policing and how messed up policing is in Chicago. I just remember literally watching the two communities merge because the organizing community fought so hard - literally a protest every single day after August 14th - and after the indictment there was a protest every single day until after New Year’s. I just remember seeing that was just boomin’ and feeling like I was being a part of an actual era in Chicago.

Is there a way in which the feel of the activism and the emotion of that activism influences your sound and the sound you want in your music?

Oh yeah. I remember being mad and I think that my music embodies me being mad and also being happy. You can be both those two at the same time and that's just part of being human and stuck in America. It’s figuring out how to balance both those things because if you don’t then one or the other will destroy you and becomes a part of you that you don’t know how to control so it’s about balance.

Are there any specific lessons that you feel that artists can learn from activists and organizers about the way in which art plays a role in movement building?

I think sometimes as an artist you have to understand your music is the soundtrack so when I make music I’m like, “where would this song fit?” Could we play this song at a direct action? Should we play this song at an actual riot? Or should we play this song at a “peaceful protest” that a lot of white liberals love? I’m always wondering where my songs will fit in those things so sometimes I think about that but that's just because I grew up in and around the organizing community. Being in the organizing community and being an organizer has taught me how to be a more organized artist and more responsible artist. People should definitely know that because of my organizing background I'm able to keep up with my artist life and have a responsible artist life so shout out to all the folks who introduced me to this world and made me a better artist and a better person

As you mentioned before, you were on a panel with Dick Gregory. There's a long history, long lineage, of artist and activists - artists who are activists and activists who are artists. Are there other specific people that you admire that have been influential to you in terms of what it means to be an artist and an activist simultaneously?

Being an artist, I always think about how I need to be part of the protest not just I’m an artist here to protest and push music. If I were to become famous, I would hold it to myself to be an actual part of it and not just an appearance at a protest you know what I mean? Because that just plays into capitalism too. I need to be a part of that and not just make an appearance at protests. With that being said I feel like my influences as an artist and activist are Henry Belafonte, Nina Simone, and Assata Shakur. I like Chuck D, how he balances his activism and art and he speaks out about those things. My friend Pigeon inspires me.

Something that people always talk about with the importance of art is that art can help envision a new world and what a just world look like. I mostly hear that idea when it comes to authors and writers. I’m sort of curious what that looks like with music. How does music help us to envision a more just world - the world that we want, the world that we deserve - and not just lyrically but sonically? If you were asked to create a song that envisions a just world what would that sound like to you?

There’s a song. It’s "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey In the Rock where it goes: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” I think that music is the atmosphere for the whole ass world. Music sets the atmosphere for the whole world so it’s interesting when people talk about art only as authors because those authors are listening to music and they get inspired by some sort of music. I feel like that it’s the atmosphere in particular, with young folks especially, where lyrics are super powerful because if you’re really, really young and you like a really good song and then lyrics fill you with power. Not just for you but the people around you and then you keep listening to that and it’s empowering you and it makes you feel like a human being. When I feel like that, that just shows the power of music. I feel like music is everything. I can’t listen to anything that makes me feel bad about myself. Music helps you with whatever you gotta go through in life.

Is that why you make music for young people in a lot of ways?

I guess people say I make music for young people. I make music that feels good to me and also because I grew up in this community. My music just happens to sound very positive because I’m not oppressing people with my music. I’m very aware of the language that I use when I’m writing and sometimes people just take that language as tryna be “Mr. Positive” and positivity can’t hurt. It’s just me trying to be myself and I’m not walking around saying certain things or feeling certain ways about people so why would I put that in my music? So people hear my music and say your music makes me feel good, it doesn’t make me feel a certain way even when I’m talking about heavy subjects. I don’t know, I guess that’s just who I am. Maybe one day we’ll figure out why my music is so positive and jumpy. Every time I open my mouth, every time I’m writing a rap it’s something really, truly, wholeheartedly me. I think the best artists are the artists that can’t control that.

Tue, Sep 17, 2019

Crossroads Fund is excited to welcome Jane Kimondo as our new Executive Director and Michael Aguhar as our new Program Director.

Jane has been with Crossroads Fund for almost 14 years in our Program Department. As a known and respected leader in the grassroots, philanthropic, and donor communities, Jane has a strong track record of engaging grantees and donors in the work of Crossroads Fund.

Michael is an avid advocate for immigrants and workers rights and comes to us from Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) where he was the Executive Director. AFIRE is a long-time Crossroads Fund grantee.

Take a listen to a brief conversation between Jane and Michael and get to know them a little better.

 

Transcript

(The interview has been edited for clarity.)

Lizette: Hello, my name is Lizette Garza and I’m the Program Manager at Crossroads Fund. We’re excited to introduce you to our new Executive Director, Jane Kimondo, and new Program Director, Michael Aguhar. Keep listening to get to know Jane and Michael a little better.

Jane: Hello, my name is Jane Kimondo and I’m the new Executive Director of Crossroads Fund.

Michael: Hi, my name is Michael Aguhar and I’m the new Program Director of the Crossroads Fund. Jane, what are you most excited about in being the Executive Director at Crossroads Fund?

Jane: It’s one question that I’ve been asking myself, why am I the new Executive Director of Crossroads Fund and what excites me at this particular moment? One, I want to acknowledge that I stand on shoulders of people. I want to, first of all, acknowledge the founders of Crossroads Fund, who took a lot of time and energy and resources to dream and dream big and make this a reality. Then, all the folks who have come along with us for the last 39 years, which has been a long road and a long journey to be where we are. When I look at this particular moment, and think about all the leadership of color that we have at the state, at the county, and also in the philanthropic field, what does this mean? What’s our mandate? Because even as we ascend to these positions of power, our communities are not benefiting directly. They still have a lot of things that destabilized their lives, whether it’s ICE raids or being pushed out of their communities because of high rents or development that comes into the community. That’s not for them, but for others. Or, just lack of public education that is really well equipped so that all children can reach their full potential. This is where the disconnect falls. So what’s our mandate and how do we always stay true to the communities that we come from? This is what makes me very excited about being the new Executive Director of Crossroads Fund.

Michael, what are you most excited about in this new role as a Program Director of Crossroads Fund?

Michael: First of all, I’m excited to be working with you, Jane, and the rest of the staff and board of Crossroads Fund to realize the collective vision that we all have and those of the founders. I’m also really excited to get to know the grantees and all of the work they do throughout Chicago to realize some new possibilities. The grantees who are working on building communities that don’t rely on the police, the grantees who are working with queer youth to find a sense of home and belonging, and the ones who are working throughout the city to hold government and other institutions accountable. Finally, I am really excited to be working with everyday folks who want to get involved and move their money into new models of organizing and movement building. I’m really excited to work with them so that they can realize that they too can make an impact and create change with every dollar they give, with every hour that they volunteer and with every relationship they build throughout the city and with grantees and other activists and organizers. So, yeah, all that really excites me and I’m looking forward to working with you.

What does it mean to be you and all that you embody and be the Executive Director of a public foundation that funds activists working for systems change?

Jane: Working at Crossroads Fund really embodies what it means that all the systems are interconnected. As a Black woman, as a parent, as an immigrant, I am not immune to the issues our communities are facing. I’m part and parcel of the community. So every day that I come to a Crossroads Fund I ask myself, "what can we do better?" "How do we change or replace the systems that are intentionally not made for us?" What drives me is to fundamentally change or replace the systems. These are systems that are made from a notion that some people are deserving and others are not deserving. As folks who collectively do not accept this notion, we have a duty to change the systems and replace them as much as we can. Given that the systems are not made for us.

Michael, as you transition from AFIRE into the philanthropic field, what are some of your thoughts?

Michael: My first thought is change is possible, right? That transformation, most importantly, is possible. I’ve seen it happen when domestic workers get in front of the mic and demand their rights; they demand a right to a fair wage, they demand protection from sexual harassment and discrimination. So I’ve seen it happen and I know that grantees across this city are doing that same thing. Change is possible when we uplift those voices of grassroots folks and create opportunities for them to shine. Change is possible when we’re able to share our stories with one another. When we connect those stories to our broader structure and a political analysis that understands that those systems of oppression are interconnected and that they work to oppress all of us, not just one of us. And change is possible when we move with intention with each other and with other communities who share our values to work at those intersections and create change for everyone. So it’s possible and I’m excited to be working with grantees to realize that and to support their work.

Jane: Welcome, Michael, to Crossroads Fund.

Michael: Welcome, Jane, to being the new E.D. of Crossroads Fund.

Lizette: Crossroads Fund is a public foundation supporting community organizations working on issues of racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area. Learn more at crossroadsfund.org.

Thanks for listening!

Thu, Aug 08, 2019

2019 Giving Project

(Top from left to right) Jennifer Long, Zach Huelsing, Julian Hendrix, Christine Cupaiuolo, Julie Knorowski, Makkah Ali, Lisa Schergen, Andrea Meza, Jane Kimondo, Sheila McAnanly (Middle) Angela Lin, Carolina Gallo, Abbey Hambright, Chandra Palmer, Aaron Johnson, Salpi Apkarian, Daris Jasper, Ola Faleti (Bottom) Margot Babington, Ryn Osbourne, Cassandra Solis, Lizette Garza, Tami Cohen, Emmanuel Garcia (Not pictured: Cory Stevenson)

 

Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that our 2019 Giving Project cohort - a multi-racial, cross-class, intersectional group of 23 people - raised $144,823 from 282 donors!

This purposeful amount of money enabled us to make grants to 29 grassroots groups fighting and organizing for change in Chicago! This cohort illustrates the impact we can have when we pool our resources together and invite others to do the same.

Giving Project members laugh during their last meeting as a cohort.

We want to recognize the commitment each member made to be part of this experience. Over six months, the cohort participated in deep and challenging conversations on race and class; made an individual monetary donation that was significant to them; raised funds from their network through a process of "donor organizing;" and practiced participatory grantmaking to support strategic, necessary, and underfunded social justice organizing work around the city.

“I feel like I accomplished my goals for the Giving Project. Doing the project pushed me out of my comfort zone in a lot of my relationships – especially in talking about money! I am proud of myself and the money I raised, yet I feel like I could always do more.” – 2019 Giving Project Participant

 

The Giving Project program is part of Crossroads Fund’s commitment to racial justice. Through staff-facilitated trainings that explicitly named anti-blackness, white supremacy and centered the experiences of People of Color, the group had in-depth and nuanced discussions on the realities of structural oppression in our society and how our race and class show up in fundraising and grantmaking. Join us in congratulating them on their boldness and determination to fund groups fighting on the front lines for change.

 

The 2019 Giving Project cohort discuss their site visits on the grantmaking decision day.

 

Since 2015 the Giving Project program has raised more than $500,000 from over 900 donors.

 

Crossroads Fund’s Giving Project is an innovative model for democratizing philanthropy and grassroots organizing. Through political education that explores race and class, alumni of the Giving Project are equipped with fundraising and grantmaking skills, to be stronger advocates in raising money for progressive movements.

 

Crossroads Fund is a public foundation that supports grassroots organizations for racial, social, and economic justice.

 

Interested in joining the 2020 Giving Project? Please complete the form below and a Crossroads Fund staff member will contact you in November 2019 as we begin recruiting for the next cohort.

Mon, Jul 08, 2019