Farewell Obamas plus #ChiTownWarriors (pt 1)

The end of an historic era is upon us as we bid farewell to the 44th POTUS and First Family of these here United States. We say thank you to Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo and Sunny and while we’re at it, we throw the spotlight on the Windy City and a few of its #ChiTownWarriors who are on the front lines fighting for the most vulnerable people that are still chasing the American dream.

In this first episode of our ode to Chicago mini series, as always we deliver SF Bay Area headlines the circle should know about and hang out with Ambassador Vaughn Bryant and My Block, My Hood, My City founder Jahmal Cole. What happens when young people who have never left their neighborhoods begin seeing just how big the world is by seeing the many sides and shades of Chicago? Press play to find out as well as peep the Top 5 events that caught our eyes!

Guest Profiles


Jahmal Cole, Founder, My Block, My Hood, My City
Jahmal Cole is a tireless volunteer and role model. An advocate for education reform in Chicago, Jahmal is passionate about improving schools and is a frequent speaker at colleges in the Chicagoland area. Jahmal is the author of The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations, "Athletes & MC's" and "50 Excuses: to not Follow your Dreams." Recognized for his contributions to the community, he is the recipient of many awards, including a 2012 Certificate of Appreciation from Governor Pat Quinn, 2012 Chicago Ideas Award Winner presented by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, 2013 Scion Motivate Winner presented by Toyota, 2013 John Lennon Song Writing Grand Prize Award Winner, 2013 Cook County Juvenile Detention Center Volunteer Award. 2016 Roberto Clemente Global Health Award, and 2016 Chicago Urban League Innovator Award. He was appointed as honorary chair of State of Black Chicago Steering Committee by Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court and named one of Huffington Post's 15 Inspiring Chicagoans. Most recently, he has successfully launched a groundbreaking social initiative entitled "My Block, My Hood, My City", where he takes teenagers from underserved Chicago communities on City Wide explorations. Jahmal is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council on Gun Violence and Restorative Communities. LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Website | YouTube



Jason Hofmann, Co-Founder, 51Oakland
The son of a Civil Rights attorney and an ethics-focused healthcare professional, Jason learned the value of diversity and the importance of community service at an early age. Raised in a diverse, multi-cultural community in Atlanta, Jason moved with his family to the SF Bay Area in the late 1980’s. Jason returned to the Bay Area in 2005, and found himself drawn to the unique and vibrant community of Oakland. Calling on his academic background in management and economics, he worked to establish a successful independent financial planning practice, focusing on socially-responsible investing. Committed to bettering his new community, Jason sought out philanthropic activities where he could make an impact, serving on the board of a health-focused non-profit, and hosting fundraisers for several charitable organizations. The venue for one of these fundraisers happened to be Yoshi’s Jazz Club & Restaurant, yielding an unexpected and fortuitous introduction to club owner Yoshi Akiba. A friendship between like-minded spirits was born, and an eventual partnership followed – leading to the creation of 51Oakland. LinkedIn | Twitter | Website


Maria Jenson, Executive Director, SOMArts
Maria Jenson is the Executive Director of SOMArts Cultural Center. Prior to joining SOMArts, she was a key member of the External Relations team managing the reopening of SFMOMA following the museum’s $300 million dollar expansion. At SFMOMA, she worked across departments and built innovative community partnerships as the museum’s cultural and civic ambassador. Maria was also the Founding Director of ArtPadSF– an independent art fair that transformed the Phoenix Hotel into an immersive and interactive platform to engage Bay Area artists, gallerists and art lovers. She is active with the Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA) coalition and works with her colleagues at other major arts organizations in the region on education, advocacy and inclusion issues as they relate to arts, economic and community-building public endeavors. LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Website


Vaughn Bryant, Ambassador
Executive Director, Chicago Literacy Alliance
Vaughn is the Executive Director of the Chicago Literacy Alliance and joins after spending the last four years as the Chief Program Officer for the Chicago Park District, where he was responsible for its largest department, Community Recreation, which focused on the Park District’s core mission of providing high-quality leisure services to Chicago residents and visitors. Vaughn joined the Park District after working on the Violence Prevention Initiative as a Deputy Officer at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Prior to his work at CPS, he served as a manager in Player Development for the National Football League, worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist, and was a former fourth-round draft choice of the Detroit Lions. Vaughn received a master’s degree from Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University. He is a recent graduate of Leadership Greater Chicago, serves on the National Advisory Board of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University and is on various committees with the Chicago Community Trust. Vaughn is also a board member for the Positive Coaching Alliance – Chicago. LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

Time For Some Action: Check out this video where Jahmal Cole and 15 teenagers from My Block, My Hood, My City experience a historic night out at President Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago. And… check out their apparel while you’re at it!

Show Notes

What’s the 411:


Top 5 Events:

  • A Night With 51Oakland January 24 at Yoshi’s Oakland
  • Ise Lyfe at the New Parish in Oakland January 26. Ise Lyfe (TEDTalk, HBO Def Poetry, Huffington Post, New York Times) is an award recording artist, conceptual artist, justice advocate, and author.
  • WE’RE STILL WORKING: THE ART OF SEX WORK January 27 - February 25 at SOMArts
  • Women's March in Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco, January 21. Speakers and performers include District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim; Hung Liu, the well-known painter and Oaklander, Ameena Jandali, a founding member of Islamic Networks Group (ING); and more. Musicians include the San Francisco born and raised MicahTron, a featured MC of HipHopForChange.
  • Minority Women Professional (MWP) are MVPs on January 28 at Nile Hall in Preservation Park. Join Inspire Health as they launch a nationwide women’s empowerment conference series to celebrate the achievements of MWP’s.




Production: Sound Design by Courtney Grace, Production Assistance by Jen Huynh with Hosts Christianne Harder, LT and j-

360BayArea Intro Music by Courtney Grace with vocals by ElleT

Featured Music:
Griot “Everyday
DD Sakora “Outta This World”, “3 Pointer”, “El Diablo”,
Danny Swain “Origami Swain
Bensound “House
Courtney Grace “Slow Down

Featured Quick clips:
Mary J Blige “What’s the 411
Drake ft Future “Grammys
Redman “Time 4 sum Aktion
Kanye West “Homecoming” and “Flashing Lights
Chicago “All That Jazz
Chicago “Saturday in the Park
Star Wars Theme
Common “The Light
DJ Mark Farina “The Tribute”, “Autumn Evening Breeze” and “Comin’ Thru
Sam Cooke “A Change Is Gonna Come


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