Back to All Events

JULY 20: 8:00pm - A City in Transition: Chicago Today and Moving Forward


  • Alma Anaya - Cook County Commissioner of the 7th District

  • Allison Arwady - Acting Commissioner Chicago Department of Public Health

  • Judith Helfand - Director/Producer, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code

  • Ranjani Prabhakar - Deputy Policy Director - Climate Change, City of Chicago


  • Alden Loury - Senior Editor: Race, Class & Communities, WBEZ

Alma Anaya - Cook County Commissioner of the 7th District

Alma E. Anaya 7th District (2019).jpg

Alma Anaya is the Cook County Commissioner of the 7th District, serving the Southwest Side of Chicago. Alma became the only Latina (the first in over 25 years), and the youngest woman to ever serve on the Cook County Board of Commissioners when she took office. Alma is also one of the few formerly undocumented immigrants to hold office in the country. 

Alma was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and arrived to the United States at the age of 6. She is the oldest of 4 and was raised by a single mother on the Southside of Chicago. Alma holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Prior to taking office, Alma had seven years of experience working on the Cook County Board. She has worked on County and internal budgets, policy initiatives, and has collaborated with community stakeholder to provide resources to the constituents of the 7th District.

Alma is constantly active in her community. She has served on the Local School Councils (LSC) and with non-for-profit organizations like Mujeres Latinas en Acción (MLEA) where she is both a MLEA Board member and Co-Chair of the Young Professional Advisory Council. Alma was also selected as a Racial Equity Fellow in the inaugural cohort of Chicago United for Equity and is an Edgar Fellows alumni through the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.

Alden Loury - Senior Editor: Race, Class and Communities, WBEZ

Alden Loury pix.jpg

In July 2018, Alden joined WBEZ as senior editor of the race, class and communities desk, which provides enterprise reporting on those topics as well as housing, immigration and employment.

Previously, Alden served as the director of research and evaluation for the Metropolitan Planning Council for two years where he examined and wrote about population loss, demographic shifts, job trends and racial segregation.

Prior to joining MPC, Alden served as an investigator and later as a policy analyst for the Better Government Association. In more than four years at the BGA, Alden documented abuses with legislative scholarships, campaign finance expenditures and ward remapping and later analyzed data and lobbied for reforms to increase government transparency, efficiency and accountability.

Prior to joining the BGA, Alden spent 12 years at The Chicago Reporter, initially as a reporter, then senior editor and finally as publisher. He authored, edited or provided research for more than 50 investigative projects examining the impact of race and class in drug sentencing, jury verdicts, jury selection, lottery ticket sales, fatal police shootings and subprime mortgage lending, among others.

Alden has discussed his work on ABC7, CBS2, Chicago Public Radio, CNN, FOX32, NBC5, WGN-TV, and WTTW Chicago Tonight. His research has appeared in The Chicago Defender, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Alden is a Chicago native who grew up in the LeClaire Courts public housing development and later the Auburn Gresham community on the city’s south side. He is married with three daughters.