We Will Teams

The We Will pillar research teams meet monthly to develop and review the key questions, objectives, and recommendations that will shape the We Will Chicago plan. These seven groups represent a core community engagement strategy of the second phase of We Will, which runs through spring 2022.

Each pillar team is comprised of local volunteers and organizations, artists and organizers from the collaboration with Honey Pot Performance, city departments and agencies, and nonprofit community partners. Community partners and artist organizers will both be conducting engagement activities in 2021 to generate ideas from Chicagoans in every ward to shape the recommendations of each pillar team.

Selection Process

The City conducted an open application process for all Chicagoans to apply for these teams in spring 2021. More than 500 individuals and organizations submitted applications that were reviewed and scored by a group of 60 volunteers.

Final selections for each team were made by a committee that included the Advisory Committee co-chairs and representatives from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Office of the Mayor. The final selections reflect the committee's efforts to balance applicant scores with geographic representation, diversity of perspectives, racial and ethnic identity, gender identity, and disability status. Additional details about the selection process are available in this summary document.

To stay updated about future in-person and virtual community engagement events that will shape the plan, register at wewillchicago.com/register.

Arts and Culture
Co-chairs
Erin Harkey, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Melanie Wang, volunteer

  • Aaliyah Christina, Artist-Organizer
  • Alicia Alexander, community partner, My Block My Hood My City
  • Cathy Breitenbach, Chicago Park District
  • Clevan Tucker, volunteer
  • Dawn Posey, volunteer
  • Gabriela Jirasek, Department of Planning and Development
  • Henry Wishcamper, volunteer
  • Jarol Rendon, volunteer
  • Jennifer Ligaya, Artist-Organizer
  • Jeremy Dunn, Chicago Public Library
  • Julia de Bettencourt, Chicago Public Schools
  • Julie Burros, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Kim Lewis Jay, volunteer
  • Kristin Larsen, volunteer
  • Krystal Amevor, volunteer
  • Lynn Basa, volunteer
  • Maritza Nazario, community partner, En Las Tablas Performing Arts
  • Max Grinnell, volunteer
  • Natasha Tarpley, volunteer
  • Peter Vega, community partner, Chicago Cultural Alliance
  • Rose Olea, community partner, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus
  • Wisdom Baty, Artist-Organizer

Economic Development
Co-chairs
Kenya Merritt, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
Lynnette McRae, volunteer

  • Aaron Dorsey, Department of Planning and Development
  • Alec Singer, volunteer
  • Alexis Esparza, community partner, Eighteenth Street Development Corporation
  • Amalia NietoGomez, community partner, Alianza Leadership Institute DBA Alliance of the SouthEast (ASE)
  • Angela Y. Dugan, volunteer
  • E. LaVerne Hall, volunteer
  • Enneréssa “Reesie” Davis, Artist-Organizer
  • G. Sequane Lawrence, volunteer
  • Gladys Montemayor, volunteer
  • Jennifer Aronsohn, volunteer
  • Jessica McCarihan, volunteer
  • Jo de Presser, Artist-Organizer 
  • Karin Norington-Reaves, Chi Cook Workforce Partnership
  • Kindy Kruller, volunteer
  • Koby Joseph Hill, volunteer
  • Lorne C. Green, Chicago Housing Authority
  • Martha Aguila, volunteer
  • Max Budovitch, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
  • Michelle McClendon, volunteer
  • Nedra Sims Fears, Greater Chatham Initiative
  • Nneka Onwuzurike, Office of Equity and Racial Justice
  • Rachel Elman, Office of the Mayor
  • Rob Fojtik, Choose Chicago
  • Samir Mayekar, Office of the Mayor
  • Sandi Price, community partner, Rogers Park Business Alliance
  • Skyler Larrimore, Office of the Mayor
  • Tenasha Shaynay Wilcoxon, volunteer
  • Tina Gulley-Augustus, volunteer
  • Tony Manno, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Vamsi Kurakula, volunteer
  • Vanessa Stokes, Artist-Organizer
  • William Jefferies, Department of Planning and Development

Environment, Climate and Energy
Co-chairs
Angela Tovar, Office of the Mayor
Iyana Simba, volunteer

  • Aina Gutierrez, volunteer, Rebuilding Exchange
  • Anthony Tindall, Forest Preserves of Cook County
  • Arlinda Bajrami, volunteer
  • Brad Roback, Department of Planning and Development
  • Brian Daly, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Cathy Breitenbach, Chicago Park District
  • Cat Mahari, Artist-Organizer 
  • Chris Sauve, Department of Streets and Sanitation
  • Frank Zhu, volunteer
  • Grant Ullrich, Department of Buildings
  • Kaycee Mendoza, volunteer
  • Kimberly Worthington, Department of Assets, Information and Services
  • Kimeco Roberson, Artist-Organizer
  • Kuldip Kumar, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Kyra Woods, Office of the Mayor
  • Malcom Whiteside, Department of Streets and Sanitation
  • Martha M. Torrez Allen, Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF)
  • Megan Cunningham, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Melissa Tate, volunteer
  • Michele Davies, volunteer
  • Mike Tomas, community partner, Garfield Park Community Council
  • Naomi Davis, community partner, BIG, NFP
  • Olga Bautista, community partner, Southeast Environmental Task Force
  • Robert Megquier, volunteer
  • Robert Weinstock, volunteer
  • Rohit Agarwal, volunteer
  • Sean Wiedel, Chicago Department of Transportation
  • Shannon Madden, volunteer
  • Tomás de'Medici, volunteer
  • Tomi Moore, volunteer

Housing and Neighborhoods
Co-chairs
Jessie Wang, volunteer
Sendy Soto, Department of Housing

  • Ann McKenzie, Chicago Housing Authority
  • Christine Riley, Department of Family and Support Services
  • Claudia Herasme, Department of Planning and Development
  • Daniel K. Hertz, Department of Housing
  • Emma Gonzalez Roberts, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation
  • Enrique Castillo, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Felice Eckhouse, volunteer
  • Freda Madison, volunteer
  • Frida A. Palacios, volunteer
  • Grace Chan McKibben, community partner, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
  • Jackie Paige, volunteer
  • Jerome Wade, volunteer
  • Jo de Presser, Artist-Organizer 
  • Juan Luna Nunez, volunteer
  • Juan Sebastian Arias, Office of the Mayor
  • Linda Young, volunteer
  • Mare Ralph, volunteer
  • Marlene Hopkins, Department of Buildings
  • Michael Glasser, Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance (NBOA)
  • Michelle E.L. Merritt, Artist-Organizer
  • Paola Villegas, volunteer
  • Parrish Brown, Artist-Organizer 
  • Patricia Fron, community partner, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance
  • Patrick Murphey, Department of Planning and Development
  • Steven Valenziano, Department of Planning and Development
  • Steven Vance, volunteer
  • Thomas Applegate, community partner, North River Commission
  • Victoria Moreno, volunteer
  • Victoria Ogunsanya, volunteer

Lifelong Learning
Co-chairs
Guillermo Cruz, volunteer
Mark Potter, City Colleges of Chicago

  • Aaron Cortes, volunteer
  • Aimee Davis, volunteer
  • Aisha Jean-Baptiste, Artist-Organizer
  • Alberto Ortega, World Business Chicago
  • Alicia Bunton, volunteer
  • Desmond Odugu, volunteer
  • Catherine Hollis, volunteer
  • Emily Johanson, volunteer
  • Heather Connolly, volunteer
  • Jacob Watson, Artist-Organizer
  • Jane Flemming, Chicago Public Schools
  • Jennifer Alexander, Office of the Mayor
  • Jessica Flores, volunteer
  • Joel Harris, community partner, National PanHellenic Council of Chicago
  • José Luis Rodríguez, volunteer
  • Kate Lapinski, Chicago Public Library
  • Kathleen Dickhut, Department of Planning and Development
  • Matiana Ovalle, community partner, Grupo Salto
  • Meida McNeal, Artist-Organizer
  • Patrick Day, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Peter Fitzpatrick, volunteer
  • Quenna Barrett, Artist-Organizer
  • Rebecca Amato, volunteer
  • Rebecca Estrada, Department of Family and Support Services
  • Renuka Sharma, Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition
  • Shenika S. Jackson, volunteer
  • Wanda Santiago, community partner, Latino Organization of the Southwest

Public Health and Safety
Co-chairs
Jazmine Valadez, volunteer
Kate McMahon, Chicago Department of Public Health
Alex Heaton, Mayor's Office of Violence Reduction

  • Alexandria Willis, Artist-Organizer 
  • Alex Meixner, volunteer
  • Brianna Lawrence, community partner, Coalition on Urban Girls – Chicago
  • Chloe Gurin-Sands, volunteer
  • Chris Zala, Northside Community Resources/CDC
  • Darci Flynn, Office of the Mayor
  • David Mena, volunteer
  • Elias Kassa, volunteer
  • Emily Harwell, volunteer
  • Francine Dillard, volunteer
  • Gloria Rivera, Artist-Organizer
  • Han Yu Stephanie Liou, volunteer
  • Jade Flagg, volunteer
  • Jaye Stapleton, Office of the Mayor
  • Jennifer Ligaya, Artist-Organizer 
  • Katelyn Johnson, community partner, Blackroots Alliance
  • Kelsey Di Pirro, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
  • Latasha May Hernton, volunteer
  • Margaret Decker, Office of the Mayor
  • Marlita White, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Mike Milstein, Chicago Police Department
  • Myles Castro, volunteer
  • Nesha Breashears, volunteer
  • Sheri Cohen, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Stephanie Dunn, community partner, Star Farm Chicago
  • Todd Wyatt, Department of Planning and Development
  • Victoria Barrett, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Transportation and Infrastructure
Co-chairs
Jamie Simone, Chicago Department of Transportation
Melvin Thompson, community partner, The Endeleo Institute, Inc.

  • Alexandra Dumitriu, volunteer
  • Ashley Gratz, volunteer
  • Benjamin Cosgrove, volunteer
  • Billy Davis, community partner, Bronzeville Community Development Partnership
  • Derek Eder, Civic Exchange
  • Devon Braunstein, Office of the Mayor
  • Elizabeth Scott, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • Jamie Osborne, Department of Planning and Development
  • Jared Policicchio, Office of the Mayor
  • John Paige, volunteer
  • Jordan Evangelista, Artist-Organizer 
  • Jose M. Estrada, community partner, Arquitectos, INC.
  • Joshua Woods, volunteer
  • Katherine McCarter, volunteer
  • Kimeco Roberson, Artist-Organizer
  • Laurie Dittman, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
  • Leah Dawson Mooney, Chicago Transit Authority
  • Lou Turner, volunteer
  • Malika Hainer, Chicago Department of Aviation
  • Maulik Vaishnav, Office of the Mayor
  • Michael Jansen, Cityzenith LLC
  • Monica Ramona Newsome, volunteer
  • Sandra Blakemore, Department of Assets, Information and Services
  • Shadan Tofighi, volunteer
  • Sophie Manley, Department of Water Management
  • Tim Gustafson, volunteer
  • Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert, volunteer
  • Vig Krishnamurthy, Chicago Department of Transportation
  • William Garcia, volunteer
  • Yaritza Gullien, Artist-Organizer

Mobile Engagement Team

The mobile engagement team will contribute to the engagement efforts of all seven pillar research teams:

  • Enrique Morales, Artist-Organizer 
  • JeeYeun Lee, Artist-Organizer 
  • Mechiya Jamison, Artist-Organizer
  • Natalie Frazier, Artist-Organizer 

We Will Advisory Committee

The advisory committee will meet monthly to review the feedback received from each of the seven pillar teams. 

Co-chairs
Christina Harris, Metropolitan Planning Council
Katya Nuques, community partner, Enlace
Mary Kenney, BMO Financial Group

  • Adrienne Irmer, volunteer
  • Alberto I. Rincon, volunteer
  • Bridget Hayman, volunteer
  • Candace Moore, Office of Equity and Racial Justice
  • Charsetta Reed, volunteer
  • Christopher E. Chwedyk, volunteer
  • Cliff Helm, volunteer
  • Deepa Gupta, volunteer
  • Dwana DeLaCerna, volunteer
  • Ellen Shepard, volunteer
  • Emily Blum, community partner, Disability Lead
  • Erin Harkey, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
  • Isobel Araujo, community partner, Territory NFP
  • Juan Sebastian Arias, Office of the Mayor
  • Kate McMahon, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Kathleen Dickhut, Department of Planning and Development
  • Lauren Burdette, Office of Equity and Racial Justice
  • Libia Bianibi, volunteer
  • Maureen Burns, volunteer
  • May Toy, volunteer
  • Megan Cunningham, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Michelle Roseborough, volunteer
  • Rachel Arfa, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
  • Rafael Leon, volunteer
  • Roberto Requejo, volunteer
  • Rosa Y. Ortiz, volunteer
  • Skyler Larrimore, Office of the Mayor
  • Todd Vanadilok, volunteer

Information about current and past activities, including events and meetings organized by the above groups, can be found on the We Will calendar.