Eric Ward - Eric is currently the National Field Director with the Center for New Community based in Chicago. He began his evolution as a human rights leader in 1989 in the Pacific Northwest. A former staff member with the non-profit organization Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC), Eric founded and directed a community project designed to expose and counter hate groups and respond to bigoted violence. Eric began this work during a period when the national white supremacist movement was shifting its focus from the South to the Pacific Northwest. He is the editor of three published works: Conspiracies: Real Grievances, Paranoia and Mass Movements; Second Civil War: States Rights, Sovereignty and the Power of the County and American Armageddon: Religion, Revolution and the Right.

Jill G. - Jill has worked extensively with non-profit organizations both professionally and as a volunteer. Committed to addressing the economic and social discrimination barriers in childhood and youth development, she has worked in the public school system, coordinating elementary early childhood programs. A native of Chicago, she returned from Brooklyn specifically to work with non-profit organizations in the Midwest, and has enjoyed the last two years working for a progressive organization addressing racism, bigotry, and oppression. An avid international traveler, Jill has spent time in Europe and South America, most recently studying Spanish in Argentina, Chile and Peru. Jill currently serves as the managing editor for Imagine 2050.

Nicole Hallengrogg - Nichole graduated from Fresno State University where she studied English with a focus on creative writing and ethnic studies. She is a former Amicorps VISTA member for intercity youth in Washington - opening the door to the importance of reading, writing and freedom of expression in our children. Currently Nichole is a pre-school teacher in Bozeman, Montana, and raising her two young daughters as a single mom.

Noah Chandler - As a 2007 graduate of the master’s program Social Documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Noah’s background is largely centered around human rights activism, and he has served as a researcher and writer for over ten years in that capacity. Noah has a lot of experience and expertise working in diverse communities in both leadership and support roles. His documentary background has mainly been photography and writing but audio has been a close second.

Katie Bezrouch - Katie Bezrouch lives in Chicago and is the manager of popular indie coffee shop, Noble Tree. One part environmentalist, one part humanist, she is active with local projects that integrate sound environmental practices with community development. Katie especially enjoys sharing her love of gardening with urban youth, who have little access to usable green space in Chicago’s inner-city.

Stephen Piggott - Stephen Piggott is an intern at the Center for New Community. He is currently in his senior year at DePaul University in Chicago working on a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Irish studies and Islamic studies. A native of Ireland, Stephen immigrated to the United States 10 years ago. Stephen is keenly interested in politics and sports. He writes for 2 soccer blogs and is an active member and former board member of the Chicago Fire supporters group, Section 8. Stephen plans to work for a non-profit organization or a think tank after graduating.

David L. Ostendorf - Rev. David Ostendorf is a United Church of Christ Minister currently serving as Executive Director of the Chicago-based Center for New Community. From 1981 until 1993 Dave served as Executive Director of PrairieFire Rural Action, a rural education, training and organizing group based in Des Moines, Iowa.  Prior to that he served on the national staff of Rural America.  He began his organizing work in the coalfields of southern Illinois. He has over fifty articles on social, economic, and racial justice issues published in newspapers, magazines and books.

Ana Turck - Ana received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from University of Illinois Chicago, and studied for two years at DePaul University’s Graduate School of Education. As a student she helped found Feminists United. A manager at a women’s retail store by day, Ana is also an accomplished artist. Before fleeing war torn Bosnia in 1995 she studied fine arts at Saravejo’s University of Art. Today she lives in Chicago with her husband Bill, a novelist, and their two cats.

Walidah Imarshi - Walidah has toured the country several times performing, lecturing and challenging. She has facilitated poetry and journalism workshops third grade to twelfth, in community centers, youth detention facilities, and women’s prisons. Walidah is also the bad half of the poetry duo Good Sista/Bad Sista, and has co-authored with her partner Turiya Autry two chapbooks: “Good Sista/Bad Sista: Can YOU Tell the Difference?” and “Action-packed!”. She has shared the stage with folks as different as Kenny Muhammad of the Roots, Chuck D, Saul Williams, war resister Stephen Funk, Ani DiFranco, John Irving, dead prez and organizer and revolutionary Yuri Kochiyama. She has appeared on Puerto Punx Ricanstruction’s second album Love and Revolution and toured nationally and internationally with them.

Past Contributors:

Joel Ebert

Sarah Viets