Ongoing Illinois Speaks Meetings

In Carbondale, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month @ 7:30 PM at Panera Bread (1126 E. Walnut St)
Thursday, September 21st topic: “DACA and the American Dream: Who Gets to Dream the Dream and Live it As Well?”
Facilitated by Nillofur Zobairi (fmi:

In Elgin, IL (starting in September):

Every fourth Tuesday of the month at Gail Borden Public Library – Main Branch (270 N. Grove Ave.) @ 7 PM.
September topic: “Fake News: What is the Value of the Truth to You?”
Facilitated by Tish Calhamer (fmi:

In Garfield Park, Chicago, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month at Inspiration Kitchens (3504 W. Lake St) @ 6 PM.
August topic: tbd
Facilitated by Garfield Park Community Council (fmi:

In Golconda & Vienna, IL: 

Special September date: Community Conversation about Public Trust in the Media w/ The 32 Percent Project
Wednesday, September 13th, 6-8pm at the Vienna Diner (511 E. Vine St.)

Usually every third Wednesday of the month @ 6 PM.
Alternating monthly between Golconda’s Riverview Mansion Hotel (222 S. Columbus Ave) and Vienna Diner (511 East Vine Street).
Facilitated by Sandra Pfeifer (fmi:

In Hyde Park, Chicago, IL:

Third Sunday of the month at Hyde Park Art Center (5020 South Cornell) @ 1:00 PM.
September 17 topic: “What’s the future of your community?”
This group is facilitated by students from Kenwood Academy High School

In Old Town, Chicago:

Every third Tuesday of the month @ 6pm.
On hiatus
For more information, contact Zac (

In Pilsen, Chicago, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month at La Catrina (1011 W. 18th St.) @ 6 PM.
On hiatus until October
Facilitated by Byron Sigcho (fmi:

In Uptown, Chicago, IL:

Every third Thursday of the month at St. Francis House (4652 N. Kenmore Ave) @ 7 PM.
On hiatus
Facilitated by Joshua Kent (fmi:

More locations to be announced soon in Decatur and the Metro East area.

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 Community Grants page or contact Mark Hallett (; 312.374.1555)