Hi, my name is Angela Barnes (she/her), and I am the Board Chair for the Board of Directors at Center on Halsted. I was born and raised in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, and I have always had immense pride for those among us who have steadfastly fought for equality and equity in our great city. My pride for this city only intensifies as we continue on our journey of creating space for all Chicagoans. Prior to assuming the role of Board Chair, I had intentional conversations with the Board and the Senior Leadership Team to make sure my involvement made sense for my community. As an African-American lesbian from the South Side, one of the most marginalized identities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, I needed a deeper understanding of how the work of the Center impacts my community, both geographic and demographic.
Our country is at the tip of an iceberg of radical changes in the way we treat race, gender, and the intersectionality of our identities as a people. We stand on a foundation of the fight against inequity led by those that came before us — and those who still stand to tell their stories today. We have to continue this fight. Our society is becoming more aware of the importance of equity and inclusion, and our community will not endure an organization that does not put equity at the forefront — nor should we.
As we step into this new year and new decade, I ask that you join us in this journey. Our programs, events, and services only become stronger when we realize the shared responsibility of increasing access for all. The time is now. The work must continue. A history of struggle and intolerance has given us a foundation for the type of work we need to do to truly be a beacon and resource for our community. As our country continues to polarize on multiple fronts, we gain clarity on the importance of equity in our city.
The Spirit of Renewal is in our commitment to this work. It takes looking inward and participating in a constant process of learning and unlearning the behaviors and ideals that have created such a divide in our community and country. Help us build that bridge by making your end of year gift to the Spirit of the Center.