Friday, November 15

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Closing Main Stage: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Eddie Bocanegra, Michael McAfee, Tonika Johnson, Roy Kinsey

Location: Grand Ballroom (2nd Floor)

Main Stage
Big Ideas, Chicago

Big Announcement: We’re thrilled to announce that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has cleared her schedule to join the Upswell! She’ll be on the Main Stage to talk about equitable change in Chicago.  

As a young man, Eddie Bocanegra was on both sides of the narrative of gun violence in Chicago, eventually spending 14 years in prison for a violent crime. Today, as senior director of the Heartland Alliance and leader of its READI Chicago program, Eddie helps break the cycle by offering viable and stable employment, relationships, life skills, and behavioral health support to individuals most at risk of falling into violence. In this conversation with Michael McAfee, president and CEO of PolicyLink, Eddie will discuss the causes of gun violence, its toll on communities, and the best ways to stop it.

Then, take a mind-opening journey of Black life through the Great Migration of African Americans to Chicago with Tonika Johnson and Roy Kinsey. This hybrid performance/projection brings a rich – and turbulent – history to life through photos both from Chicago and the South curated by archivist Renata Cherlise of Blvck Vrchives.

Senior Director of READI Chicago
Heartland Alliance
Social Justice Artist
Rapper and Librarian
Mayor of the City of Chicago
President & CEO