Ongoing Illinois Speaks Meetings

In Carbondale, IL:

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

February 15th topic: “What Will it Take to Make Illinois Great Again?”
Facilitated by Nillofur Zobairi (

In Elgin, IL:

Every fourth Tuesday of the month @7pm at
Gail Borden Public Library – Main Branch (270 N. Grove Ave.)

February 27th topic: “Mass Incarceration and Our Community”
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).

February 21st topic in Golconda: “Being Gay in Rural America”
Facilitated by Sandra Pfeifer (

In Granite City

Every fourth Thursday of the month @ 6:30pm at
Six Mile Regional Library District (2001 Delmar Ave.)

February 22nd topic: “Immigration, Past and Present”
Facilitated by Betsy Mahoney (; presented in partnership with the Six Mile Regional Library District

In Hyde Park, Chicago, IL:

Every third Sunday of the month @1pm at
Hyde Park Art Center (5020 South Cornell Ave.)

February 25th topic: Teen Mental Health
This group is facilitated by students from Kenwood Academy High School – for more information, email

In Peoria, IL:

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

February 8th topic: Human Trafficking
Facilitated by Roberta Koscielski (; presented in partnership with Peoria Public Library

In Pilsen, Chicago, IL:

This site will restart soon, stay tuned for details.

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

In Uptown, Chicago, IL:

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

February 15th topic: TBD
Facilitated by Elsie Hernandez (; presented in partnership with the Haitian American Museum of Chicago

More locations to be announced soon. 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 Community Grants page or contact Mark Hallett (; 312.374.1555)