Next Steps event Sunday, speaker list and bios #ChiNextSteps

Every weekend we march, we rally, and we protest.

This Sunday, we’ll be taking the resistance forward by planning the next steps for real change at the Athenaeum Theatre on the Northside of Chicago.  The event, called “WOMEN’S MARCH: Next Steps,” isn’t anti-Trump.  The organizer, Nikki Nigl, describes the event as a “safe” and “judgement-free” experience to discuss next steps, not to complain.  Nigl is the founder of About Women, a women’s empowerment group that meets regularly to discuss women’s issues, relate personal experiences, and build bonds through open conversation.

Sunday’s event has a dynamic list of Chicago-based women speakers, and I’m looking forward to hearing their suggestions and ideas for progressive change.

30Elizabeth Gomez
is a comedian, storyteller, writer, and founder of Windy City Rollers and Drinkers with Writing Problems.  Gomez has appeared on WGN Radio and WBEZ, and performed at The Laugh Factory and Drop Comedy Club.  She has been the Director of Business and Community Outreach for Chicago’s 32nd Ward Alderman, Scott Waguespack since 2008.

mchakMrinalini Chakraborty is a feminist student activist who was on the “front lines of the student-led protests that famously forced Donald Trump to cancel his March 2016 rally at UIC.  She became the state coordinator in Illinois for the Women’s March on Washington after seeing a need for logistics planning.  She continues her work organizing with the Women’s March organization.

bahrmaselEllie Bahrmasel is a co-founder of RISE Movement.  Bahrmasel is an “engagement strategist” who has worked in the “private, public[,] and nonprofit sectors” for Comcast, The Kennedy Forum, and Rahm Emanual.  RISE Movement is a voter engagement and registration group committed to involving “the everyday American” in electoral politics.  The group maintains a dashboard for coordination, and publishes a quarterly report educating its voters on election outcomes.

porchaskaJenna Prochaska is a Women’s and Reproductive Rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.  She has been fighting for the reproductive rights of Illinois women since 2015.


elliottKira Elliott is a community organizer, activist, and co-owner of Comfy Fitness in Bucktown.  Comfy fitness is a fitness training facility that aims to help women feel “comfy in their own bodies.”


Caitlin Neal is a political activist, and “Chicago’s Sex & Dating Coach.”

I am looking forward to an event that may give me more to do.  There are times when I leave a protest, especially because I’m short (which means I can’t see or hear at poorly planned events), feeling a bit inadequate or discouraged.  Could my time have been better served knocking on doors in my neighborhood, building a local political group?  Could my time have been better spent working with event organizers to improve the efficacy of rallies and marches?  I will be live-tweeting for the event to keep everyone involved in the discussion.  Please come if you can make it or check out the live-tweets @IAmNikkiNigl (the organizer’s account, and I will retweet from @reportrebels.) Use the event hashtag #ChiNextSteps to get involved and follow the conversation.



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