Watch highlights from the day in a youth-produced video by Free Spirit Media, an organization that is empowering teens and young adults in communities of color on Chicago’s West and South sides with hands-on media production experience.

This one-day event is dedicated to collective action and collaboration--using the wisdom of generations past and present to build stronger local communities across the city. Over 300 local grassroots leaders, educators, religious leaders, and innovators will soon join us on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. —8:30 AM CET

As participants begin to stream into the UIC Forum, we’re asking them to place a pin on a neighborhood where they’re working for change. —9:32 AM CET

We’re also asking them to exchange what they have to offer their community, or what they might need in hopes of finding a match and forging new relationships. —9:34 AM CET

Lights down, mic check! Stark and the Law of HUEY Gang (and proudly from the Go!) start with a booming intro performance to kick off the day. —10:07 AM CET

Author Ben Austen and community organizers JR Fleming and Dolores Wilson discuss the history of the Cabrini-Green public housing project, where both Dolores and JR lived and advocated for public housing. “It’s only when people come together that change happens in this country,” Ben says. “President Obama is a reflection of that and I’m honored to share this stage and talk to the people of Chicago about that.” —10:38 CDT

President Obama shares a message at the Chicago Community Conversation, an event hosted by the Obama Foundation and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to bring together a diverse group of local grassroots leaders to discuss the role of citizens in creating stronger communities.

Legendary blues musician Billy Branch takes the stage to lead the audience through a history of Chicago Blues and its significance to modern music. —10:53 AM CDT

Dr. Robert Winn, Director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center gives a powerful talk about the health impacts of inequality. “The future is here,” he says “it’s just unevenly distributed.” Highlighting the difference between life expectancies in the Loop and West Garfield Park, he says: “You only have to go four stops to get a difference of 16 years in life expectancy.” —11:02 AM CDT

Up next is Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann who argues for the value of marrying religious tradition with activism. “When religious communities come together and throw all our energies and power behind the power of inclusion and love, we are mighty,” she says.” —4:52 PM CDT

Tracie Hall from the Joyce Foundation is now moderating a session with artists Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal about the intersection of art and activism and in importance of building lasting friendships to create lasting change. “There is an intrinsic overlap between the art you create and the kind of values you hold as a human being,” says Rafael. —5:07 PM CDT

Rounding out the day is Rami Nashashibi, Director of Inner-City Muslim Action Network (and low key 2018 MacArthur Fellow). He’s speaking about the importance of calling out the injustices we see in our communities and calling up others to push back against them. He offers the audience a powerful lesson about Chicago’s legacy of reimagining itself to serve the needs of the community. —5:22 PM CDT

Jazz impresario Isaiah Collier and his quartet the Chosen Few have taken the stage to close out an inspiring day. As the sax blares and the drums kick, local restaurants are setting up in the room next door to treat the participants to a final meal before ending this incredible day. —5:45 PM CDT

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