What is The Girl Talk, you ask? The Girl Talk is a monthly show recorded live at The Hideout in Chicago, hosted by DNAinfo’s Deputy Editor Jen Sabella and award-winning teacher and activist Erika Wozniak. The show features influential, powerful and prominent Chicago Women. Every month, we tackle the issues facing our city, state and country by listening to the Women who are doing the work on the ground to make things better.
Eighty-Sixing Racism and Misogyny Edition
We've heard #MeToo stories from Hollywood to Springfield, but some of the most abusive and toxic behavior at the center of these stories is still experienced every day by women in the bar and restaurant industries.
Our guests this month are legends in Chicago and beyond, not only for their abilities behind the bar, but for creating networks of talented, fierce women who mentor younger servers and focus on giving back to their communities.
Shelby Allison co-owns Lost Lake, a tropical cocktail bar in Chicago that opened in 2015 and was named Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail’s 2018 Spirited Awards, is a three-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program (2016, 2017, 2018) and a finalist in 2019, and earned a spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list (2018). Shelby is a co-founder of Chicago Style, a yearly conference focused on increasing inclusivity, safety, and sustainability within the cocktail community, and was featured in The New York Times, Vogue, and Food and Wine. She also co-founded Shift-Ease, a monthly charitable party at Lost Lake that supports local Chicago organizations working for progressive racial, economic and gender justice, and is a founding board member of the Chicago Period Project, an aspiring non-profit that helps Chicago’s homeless and in-need people experience their periods with dignity. Shelby was one of Chicago Woman’s 10 Most Influential Women in Chicago’s food and beverage community (2018), and one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers (2018).
Nandini Khaund was part of the opening team at one of the city’s most groundbreaking cocktail bars, the Violet Hour, which has had a tremendous impact on the industry in Chicago and beyond for more than a decade. Since then, Nandini has done everything from tend bar at Big Star to create an independent cocktail app to open and operate Cindy’s, the beautiful rooftop bar you definitely know if you’ve ever visited the Chicago Athletic Association hotel. She’s now the founder of Grimoire, a consulting company that works with hospitality groups, bars, and restaurants to facilitate positive work environments, and sits on the grants committee for the nonprofit Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.
Multi-certified mixologist, philanthropist and industry educator Alexis Brown, is the founder and executive director of Causing A Stir, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering underrepresented individuals in the bar and beverage industry.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Alexis worked her way up in the hospitality industry from a coat-check and nightclub “shot girl” to a skilled beverage consultant and cocktail connoisseur. In her nearly 10 years of experience in the field, Alexis honed her skills at some of Chicago’s most renowned bars and restaurants including The Drifter, The Dearborn and The Aviary.
Throughout her bartending career Alexis witnessed the disparaging way underrepresented individuals were treated in the beverage industry and decided to create a safe space where they could develop the skills to thrive among their peers. In 2016, she developed Causing A Stir to uplift and empower marginalized individuals in the hospitality industry. Since its inception the group has gained nearly 3,000 members worldwide and hosts monthly events to educate individuals from underserved communities.
Since 2011 Alexis has also served as the chief curator of her personal brand, Serving Life Behind Bars, where she develops custom cocktail creations for private events. She has received several accolades in the beverage industry including Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2019), Drinks International Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Figures (2019), World Class Competition Top 100 Bartenders (2019), Old Forester Old Fashioned Competition Winne
The Girl Talk: Celina & Delia Edition at the Hideout
This month, we’re talking to two Latinx Chicago women fighting hard for progressive values in Springfield — and already seeing results from some groundbreaking legislation and widely earning the respect of their colleagues. State Reps. Delia Ramirez and Celina Villanueva have been showing up in a big way downstate, fighting for education equity, immigrant rights, voting access and empowering young people of color. Both women started off as organizers so we are putting them on stage together to learn from their experience and help us understand their work on a deeper level.
--- OUR GUESTS ---
Delia Ramirez is an accomplished social service director, community leader, and coalition builder who has dedicated much of her life and career to the Humboldt Park and Logan Square communities. On March 2018, as a first-time candidate, Delia was elected the Democratic nominee of Illinois’ 4th house district and is the first Guatemalan American in the state legislature.
A daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, Delia resides on the same block where she grew up. As a graduate of Sabin Magnet Elementary school in the eastern part of the 4th district and Northeastern University, Delia recognizes the importance of public education and is committed to fighting for high quality, equitable education for all our children.
In 2004, at only 21 years old, Delia became the Executive Director of Humboldt Park Social Services, now the Center for Changing Lives. During Delia’s tenure, the agency served more than 4,500 households and quadrupled the budget expanding its supportive services to become a city-wide organization nationally recognized for its innovative work on housing and financial stability programs.
Delia has served as the Board president of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, District Advisory Chair of the 14th District Police Department, Co-founder of the Chicago Justice for our Neighbors Free Immigration Clinic, and currently serves as the President of LUCHA, a community development and affordable housing organization in the district.
Delia has been a leader in neighborhood and city-wide coalitions for balanced neighborhood development, an elected school board, the Fight for 15, and Automatic Voter Registration. Her work has been recognized through several awards including the 2007 Community Renewal Society 35 under 35 leadership award, The National Hispanic Plan’s 2011 Leader for Change Award, an Emerging Fellow of The Chicago Community Trust in 2013, and La Raza’s Community Leader award in 2013.
Up until December 2017, Delia served as Deputy Director of the Community Renewal Society, Chicago’s oldest faith-based social justice organization, where she oversaw the development, organizing and policy units. Under her leadership, CRS helped pass several bills that remove barriers to employment for people with records. Additionally, she led a process that culminated in a three-year strategic plan for the Chicago area faith-based organization.
In her first year as a state legislator she passed seven pieces of legislation ranging from expansion of homeless prevention to legislation reforming the department of children and family services and removing barriers to licensing for immigrant communities. As a leader in the progressive caucus in the House of Representatives, she is leading the housing taskforce looking at comprehensive state policy to housing stability.
Delia has demonstrated throughout her life both personally and professionally, the ability to build relationships across broad demographics and unite diverse stakeholders for a common good. She is a proven leader with deep roots in her community.
Born in Chicago and raised in Little Village,...
Getting Sh_t Done in Springfield Edition
On an earlier show, we heard from experts about the problems for legal weed in Illinois. Fast forward to just one month later, and it’s become a reality, thanks, in large part, to Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who will be joining us this month along with one of her partners in badass legislative action, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth.
Kelly, by all accounts, was a force of nature this year in Springfield, leading the way in groundbreaking legislative progress on legalization, the Reproductive Health Act, sexual harassment, a fair income tax that actually makes rich people pay their fair share, and more. Representatives Cassidy and Gordon-Booth will join us for the real story behind how they and their fellow legislators made it all happen after so many years of zero good things happening in the Capitol.
ABOUT OUR GUESTS:
REP. KELLY CASSIDY
Kelly Cassidy is currently serving her fourth term as the State Representative for Illinois’ 14th House district. She currently serves as Chair of the Appropriations Public Safety Committee. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Criminal Committee, Vice Chair of the Restorative Justice Committee and is a member of the Labor & Commerce, Economic Opportunity, Human Services and Tourism & Craft Industries committees as well as serving on the House Sexual Discrimination & Harassment Task Force.
Prior to her appointment in 2011 Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy was a community activist and organizer. She served as district office director to Senator John Cullerton and worked in the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney working towards a smarter criminal justice system.
Over the past 20 years Representative Cassidy has worked on behalf of the community in the non-profit and government sectors. As one of three openly gay members of the General Assembly, she has helped passed progressive legislation involving criminal justice reform, the rights of women and the LGBTQ community and more. This includes the Youth Mental Health Protection Act which bans conversion therapy to change youth sexual orientation and HB 1464 which ensures pregnant women being detained pre-trial, are not forced to give birth in detention centers. Cassidy’s work on criminal justice reform has resulted in significant changes to our criminal justice system, including the Uniform Civil Enforcement of Cannabis law that eliminates arrest for possession of small amounts of cannabis and significant reentry reforms including removal of permanent barriers to employment for those with felony records.
Representative Cassidy has devoted the last two decades to making government more accessible, efficient and effective. Her combination of non-profit sector, state, and local government experience provides her with a unique perspective, expertise and understanding that empowers her to serve as an outstanding representative for the 14th district.
Representative Cassidy lives in Rogers Park with her spouse, Candace Gingrich and three sons.
REP. JEHAN GORDON-BOOTH
Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth is a community activist, mother and full-time legislator serving the people of Illinois’ 92nd district. She is a proud daughter of Peoria and the first African-American woman ever to be elected to represent the central region of the state in the Illinois General Assembly.. Rep. Gordon-Booth is still a proud resident of Peoria where she lives today with her best friend and husband Coach Derrick Booth and their two year old daughter, Jianna. Among her colleagues Rep. Gordon Booth is regarded as kind, level-headed, and they even dare say “bipartisan.”
Before she ever served in the House, Rep. Gordon-Booth lived out her platform of making quality education real and accessible through her work. After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she served as one of District 69's youngest school board me
Women Running Edition
The power is in the person who is trying, regardless of the success. If you’re trying, you’ve got all the power, you’re driving the agenda.” -Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
What is it like to be a woman running for political office? The stories women collect on the campaign trail of misogyny and sexism are often kept out of the public eye for fear of appearing weak. Not anymore. This month, we are going to hear from women who ran for office in a very male dominated political environment.
About Our Guests:
Maria Hadden is Alderwoman-Elect of the 49th Ward. In February 2019, she defeated Joe Moore, who had held the seat for 28 years. Once sworn in, she will be the first black queer woman on City Council and the first black alderman from a North Side ward. Maria is the Executive Director of Our City Our Voice, a national nonprofit organization she founded to empower communities and governments to redesign democracy to be more collaborative and transparent.
SUSAN SADLOWSKI GARZA
Susan Sadlowski Garza is the first ever active Chicago Teachers Union member to be elected to City Council and the first ever woman to represent the 10th Ward in City Council. Susan’s priorities include keeping schools public, increasing wages and creating long lasting economic development in the 10th Ward.Susan is constantly working to protect public interests, increase equality for women and the LGBTQ community, foster business relationships and protect air, land, and water resources for residents.
Anna Valencia was sworn-in as City Clerk of Chicago on January 25, 2017 overseeing one of the largest offices in the City serving 1.2 million Chicagoans and generating more than $130 million annually.
Prior to becoming Clerk, Valencia served as the second woman and first Latina to run Mayor Emanuel’s Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs (LCGA) where she spearheaded the passage of police accountability reform, the modernization of the CTA’s Red and Purple lines, the stabilization of pension funds and creation of the City’s legal fund that assists immigrants and refugees threatened with deportation.
Plus, our very own Erika Wozniak Francis will be telling her own tales from her recent aldermanic run in the 46th Ward! (Trust us, she’s got some!)
Special thanks to the amazing Bleach Party for our theme music. Check them out at http://letshaveableachparty.bandcamp.com/
Free The Weed
05/28/19 FREE THE WEED Edition at The Hideout
Description: Illinois has just joined the ranks of the states who have legalized recreational cannabis. This episode we have two guests who bring us the straight dope
ABOUT OUR GUESTS
EDIE MOORE is one of the original owners of the only minority-owned firm, Illinois Grown Medicine, to receive cannabis licensure in Illinois in 2014. Working primarily on the compliance and community engagement teams, she has since expanded to advise firms locally and beyond who are seeking licensure.
Recognizing that opportunities for success in the national cannabis community were overwhelming to many of her friends and colleagues, she looked for a way to break down the content and entry points into more manageable opportunities. In 2017 she, along with her filmmaker son, received a Chicago Community Trust Acting up Grant to produce their Cannabis on the Table microfilm series, Humans of Cannabis, which features people of color who are medical cannabis patients and caregivers.
Edie is passionate about educating and reforming cannabis policies in her communities. To that end, she is a founding board member and Executive Director of Chicago NORML, a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The chapter, which was organized in 2017, has a mission to educate and motivate communities of color to destigmatize and accept the cannabis plant as a vehicle for political, economic, and health and wellness empowerment. Edie and Chicago NORML have been actively working with Illinois legislators to create the social equity provisions of the pending adult-use cannabis bill. They frequently lobby at state capitols across the country and in Washington DC for the reformation of cannabis laws.
RITA J. MCGUIRE, M.D. affectionately known as Dr. Rita, is a globally recognized OB/GYN with over eight thousand deliveries throughout a 30-year career within the United States, Virgin Islands and Caribbean. She is a well-established medical professional serving as Medical Director and Attending Physician for prominent academic and community hospitals throughout the Midwest and Caribbean, providing effective patient care and innovative training techniques to medical students.
As a compassionate and people-oriented motivational speaker, Holistic Health, Wellness & Fitness expert, Dr. Rita used her gifts to educate and empower women to pursue and maintain healthy lifestyles through proper nutrition, physical fitness and natural alternative medicine in South Africa, Mexico, Bahamas and across the United States.
Dr. Rita, a four-time medical cannabis radio show spotlight guest (WVON Chicago and Bermuda radio) is a strong and dedicated advocate for the education and legalization of medical cannabis. Her pursuit of holistic and alternative medicine led her to become Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the only African American female owned Hemp company in Illinois and as a certifying Medical Marijuana physician, where she has presented educational information to medical professionals and the general public on the use of cannabis for various health issues: Glaucoma, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer.
Dr. Rita’s passion, drive and dedication is evident in her extensive research and application of knowledge throughout her medical and wellness practices.
Let us know what you think! Contact us on Twitter @GirlTalkChi or on Facebook @girltalkchicago. Special thanks to the amazing Bleach Party for our theme music. Check them out at http://letshaveableachparty.bandcamp.com/
The Girl Talk: #METOO Edition
This episode was recorded live at The Hideout in Chicago on November 28, 2017.
In recent months, it been hard to go five minutes without hearing a new, horrifying story about sexual assault or harassment. After years of silently suffering, it seems that women are finally being heard -- and the men who have been getting away with their egregious behavior for decades are facing the consequences.
This show, The Girl Talk will tackle how women in Illinois are working to stop rampant sexual abuse and support victims who have long-endured the gropes, date rape drugs and assaults from powerful men.
Megan Blomquist began fighting gender-based violence in college and started working with Rape Victim Advocates in 2009. She is currently the Director of Education and Training with Rape Victim Advocates. Megan graduated from University of Illinois-Chicago with a degree in Applied Psychology, focusing in Gender and Women’s Studies. She is 40-hour certified in both Sexual Violence (2009) and Domestic Violence work (2011) in the state of Illinois. Through the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Megan has also completed the 40-hour Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training (2012). She is an active rape crisis counselor and community educator. Megan is passionate about ending sexual violence within our communities.
Emily Miller is a political consultant living in Chicago. Over the last decade, she has developed and fought for policy and legislative agendas that give Illinois children and families the tools they need to build better lives. After graduating from DePaul University College of Law in 2006, Miller began her career as a staff attorney and health care advocate with the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Miller also coordinated government affairs for the Better Government Association and directed policy and advocacy at Voices for Illinois Children before launching her own consulting practice in January, 2017.
State Representative Litesa E. Wallace has spent her career fighting for working families like her own. As an educator and psychologist, as a single mother, and as the State Representative for Illinois’ 67th District, Litesa understands the impact that
decisions in Springfield have on people across the state.
Litesa began her career as a counselor, working with children and adults experiencing mental health issues as well as child abuse victims, families in crisis, and people with histories of substance abuse. After completing a master’s degree and doctorate at Northern Illinois University while raising a son on her own, Litesa worked as an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Litesa’s experiences as a counselor and educator drew her to become more involved in local government.
She began volunteering, and working directly with policy-makers on the issues most important to her. Litesa won her first election for the Illinois House of Representatives in 2014, after serving as chief-of- staff to State Representative Charles E. Jefferson. She was re-elected in 2016.
In the House, Litesa has proven herself an ally of working families and an adept policy-maker able to lead her fellow legislators to support causes she believes in. A progressive advocate for economic justice, she has protected Illinois’ most vulnerable populations by expanding access to crucial services such as affordable childcare, healthcare, and SNAP benefits while also working to raise wages and create innovative economic
development tools in cities across the state.
Born on the Southside of Chicago and raised in the south suburbs and the daughter of a law enforcement agent and postal worker, Litesa grew up in a union household and was the first member of her family to...
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