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    Presented by The Chicago Community Trust

    Spoken Word by Patricia Frazier

    Patricia Frazier performs her spoken word piece between speakers at “State of Our Union.”

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    How To Make An Impact
    Have ideas? Find out how we are affecting change in our communities and how you can join one of our programs
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    Your impact checklist

    Here are a list of things you can do before and after the event to join the conversation.

    • Read how what it means to be American depends on your politics.
    • Follow @HumansofNewYork on social media for a peek into who makes up your city, country, and world.
    • Follow NPR’s “This American Life” podcast series.
    • Volunteers are the backbone of Chicago Ideas Week. Part of our Community of Curiosity, they help with everything from scanning tickets to staffing an activity station. To help out, visit

    The State of Our Union

    What does it mean to be American today?

    David Miliband
    President & CEO, International Rescue Committee; Former UK Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
    Elizabeth Dozier
    Founder & Managing Director, Chicago Beyond
    Arthur Brooks
    President & CEO, American Enterprise Institute
    Adam Foss
    Co-Founder, Prosecutor Impact
    Anna Valencia
    City Clerk, City of Chicago
    Bridget Gainer
    Cook County Commissioner, Chicago’s 10th District

    Let’s not mince words—America's differences are real. It can be easy to to become disheartened and frustrated, but instead of dwelling on everything that is wrong, Chicago Ideas is turning to experts and thought leaders who are pushing for progress.

    Our opening night program will lift up the voices of impactful civic-minded leaders who, through their work, are searching for shared truths and defining what it means to be American—what binds us together, what divides us and what the future holds for our nation.

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