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JULY 13: 5:00pm - Reframing the Disaster: Language and Messaging Around Systemic Poverty, Racism and our Climate Crisis


  • Jahmal Cole - CEO & Founder: My Block My Hood My City

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

  • Juliana Pino MPP, MS - Policy Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

  • Susy Schultz - Public Narrative


  • Sylvia Ewing - Strategic Communications, Marketing, and Outreach Director, Elevate Energy

Jahmal Cole - CEO & Founder: My Block My Hood My City

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A champion of social justice, Jahmal Cole’s mission is to build a more interconnected Chicago on the pillars of service and education.

As the founder and CEO of the city’s fastest growing social impact organization, My Block My Hood My City, Jahmal is the creator of an exposure-based education program for teens and a network of volunteer initiatives that serve Chicago communities year-round.

Traveling, youth mentorship and community organizing are the subjects of Jahmal’s highly acclaimed books and speeches. He has spoken to audiences ranging from high school students to the Mayor of Chicago.

Jahmal is most recently the recipient of the 2019 Champion of Freedom Award from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the 2018 Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Honoree, and the 2018 Chicago City Council Resolution Award. In 2018, he was also named one of the “20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans” by Streetwise Magazine and a Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine.

Sylvia Ewing, Strategic Communications, Marketing, and Outreach Director at Elevate Energy


Sylvia Ewing serves as the Strategic Communications, Marketing, and Outreach Director at Elevate Energy. Sylvia has worked on both sides of the microphone, helping nonprofits communicate effectively, implement strategic plans, manage change, and produce events and as an award-winning journalist. She was formerly an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, teaching courses on Leadership and Management in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department. Sylvia has developed accessible affordable housing and worked for positive change in reproductive rights, and in public education. As a consultant, she has produced countless successful public and private events at venues around the city, as well as raised significant revenue for her clients and employers. Sylvia can be seen on WTTW and around the country as an on-air television host for PBS fundraising specials.

Sylvia has a focus on the use of appreciative inquiry, mission and value-based communications and meeting people where they are. Sylvia is an inductee in The HistoryMakers African American archives for media. Sylvia is a certified meditation teacher and the author of Comfort and Joy: Stories of Hope Meditations for HappinessShe is also a popular moderator and keynote speaker, reaching thousands of people each year on behalf of various civic and cultural groups.

Juliana Pino - Policy Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)

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Born in Tuluá, Colombia, and raised in both Colombia and the United States, Juliana’s personal life is transnational and her background is interdisciplinary. At LVEJO, Juliana analyzes, researches, and advocates for environmental justice in local, state, and federal policy. LVEJO campaigns cross many areas of environmental policy, including energy systems, food systems, water quality, air quality, brownfields, toxics, land use, transportation, and others. Her work focuses on: advancing energy democracy and community self-determination in regulatory and policy arenas; creating just transition with meaningful collaborative and participatory management of shared environmental resources; and centering frontline community leaders as generators of transformative policy ideas and governance models. Additionally, Juliana is committed to facilitating and cultivating processes that promote social justice and public health, has experience in multi-party negotiation and mediation, and works to build robust decision-making frameworks that center the perspectives of those most affected by both broader structural oppression and the specific policies being deliberated.

In 2017, Juliana was recognized in Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 for her work in the transition to a clean energy economy as lead negotiator for low-income programs in the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act. In 2018, she was named one of Grist’s 50 Fixers for her work in making the world a more just and sustainable place for all. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Environmental Council, a statewide organization that promotes sound environmental policy and protections for land, air, water, wildlife, and human health. Juliana is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (MS, Environmental Policy and Planning; Environmental Justice), the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (MPP, Public Policy Analysis), and the University of Chicago (AB, East Asian Languages and Civilizations). Prior to joining LVEJO, Juliana has contributed to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Great Lakes Commission, and the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce, among others. Juliana is guided by anti-oppression, is invested in anti-racism movement struggles, and is a big fan of animals.

Susy Schultz - President, Public Narrative

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Susy Schultz is the president of Public Narrative, where we teach people in nonprofits and journalists better storytelling techniques to change the public narrative on racism, sexism and xenophobia. 

She’s worked in journalism, academia, government, nonprofits, the foundation world and business. A journalist for several decades, her past titles include managing editor, associate publisher, digital editor, investigative editor, reporter, columnist and editorial writer. She was just starting out in journalism during the heatwave of 1995. She is fluent in Spanish, lives in Chicago, is AWJ Chicago chapter’s founding president, past president of JAWS, a member of IRE and NABJ, as well as a mother, wife, reader and yoga enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter: @Susys.