Ongoing Illinois Speaks Meetings

In Carbondale, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month @ 7:30 PM at
Panera Bread (1126 E. Walnut St)

August 16th topic: “Can a Free Press Survive in Present Day America or the Modern World?”
Facilitated by Nillofur Zobairi (

In Elgin, IL:

On break through September

Facilitated by Tish Calhamer (; presented in partnership with Gail Borden Public Library

In Golconda & Vienna, IL: 

Every third Wednesday of the month @ 6pm
Alternating monthly between Golconda’s Riverview Mansion Hotel (222 S. Columbus Ave) and Vienna Diner (511 East Vine Street).

August 15th topic in Vienna: “Revisiting the Goals of the Group”
Facilitated by Sandra Pfeifer (

In Little Village, Chicago, IL:

On break

Monthly meetings as part of the Beauty Breaks series @1pm at
F4F (2846 West 21st Street, W 21st St., Chicago, IL 60623)

Admission to these workshops are free and open to the public, however this space is intended for folks who identify as part of the African diaspora.

June date/time/topic TBD
Presented in partnership with F4F. For more information, contact Amina Ross (

In Peoria, IL:

On break through October

Every second Thursday of the month @6pm at
Peoria Public Library North Branch (3001 West Grand Parkway, Peoria, IL 61615)

Facilitated by Roberta Koscielski (; presented in partnership with Peoria Public Library

In Pilsen, Chicago, IL:

Next meeting: “Gentrification Series: Community Responds to PLUC” on Thursday, August 23rd
at Dvorak Park (1119 W. Cullerton, Chicago, IL 60608)

For more information, email; presented in partnership with Pilsen Alliance Youth Committee

In South Shore, Chicago, IL:

Monthly meetings as part of the Exchange Ideas series
at ABJ Community Services (1818 E 71st. St., Chicago, IL 60649)

Presented in partnership with The Black United Fund of Illinois. For more information, contact Val Free (

In Uptown, Chicago, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month @6pm at
Haitian American Museum of Chicago  (4654 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60640)

August 24th topic: “Recruiting and Planning for an Uptown Speaks Event”
Facilitated by Elsie Hernandez (; presented in partnership with the Haitian American Museum of Chicago

Want to be a part of Illinois Speaks? Email Elliot at for more information. 

Illinois Speaks Awards & Upcoming Events

Illinois Speaks micro-grants are given to host public discussions about contemporary issues. These grants allow more people to act as trained facilitators or moderators of public discussion across the state of Illinois.

See upcoming events

See events that have taken place already

Illinois Bicentennial Challenge

County Goal Map for Illinois Speaks 200 Years InitiativeLeading up to Illinois’ bicentennial in 2018, we’re excited to announce our “Illinois Bicentennial Challenge.” We’re hoping to help host or fund Illinois Speaks conversations in all 102 counties of the state and we need your help.

Individuals or organizations who are the first in their county to host a community-based conversation before our December 2018 deadline will receive an Illinois Humanities canvas tote!

While we are expanding our ongoing Illinois Speaks groups, we are also offering micro-grants ($250-$1000) to allow people of all ages throughout the state of Illinois to host a public discussion or series of public discussions around issues that matter to their communities.

We warmly encourage anyone interested to apply to host their own community discussions.

The application is simple and will also include a free training in conversation facilitation.

For more information, visit our Illinois Speaks Micro-Grants page or contact Mark Hallett (; 312.374.1555)