Steering Committee



To guide the work of the Black Chicago Heritage Initiative (BCHI), the Department of Planning and Development invited local and national scholars, historians, artists and community leaders to serve on its Steering Committee. 

The Steering Committee met virtually four times between July and November 2022. Their contributions shaped the BCHI engagement strategy, interpreted community feedback, prioritized common themes raised by community and advised on implementation strategies for future phases.

Pictured: Members of the Black Chicago Heritage Initiative steering committee with staff from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and its consultant teams. From left: Meghan Haynes and Kimberley Rudd, Rudd Resources; Marcia Walker McWilliams, Black Metropolis Research Consortium; Michele Rhymes and Eiliesh Tuffy, DPD; Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago Mahogany Foundation; Courtney Kashima, Muse Community + Design; Dr. Christopher Reed, Black Chicago History Forum; Kindy Kruller, Muse Community + Design; Perri Irmer, The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center; Tonika Lewis Johnson, Folded Map Project; and Katanya Raby, Al Raby Foundation.


Dionne Baux, Vice President of Urban Development, National Main Street Center

Daniel Bluestone, author and Historic Preservation scholar

Tristan Cabello, Historian and Professor, John Hopkins University

Bev Cook, Senior Archivist (retired), Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, CPL – Woodson Branch

Torrence Gardner, Planner and Chief of Staff for IL State Representative Kelly Cassidy

Joseph Hoereth, Director, Institute for Policy and Public Engagement, University of Illinois at Chicago

Perri Irmer, President and CEO, DuSable Black History Museum

Alison Rose Jefferson, PhD, Historian and Writer, L.A. African American Historic Context Statement

Tonika Lewis Johnson, Artist, “Folded Map Project” and “Inequity For Sale”

Vashon Jordan, Jr., Artist and Photojournalist

Marcia Walker McWilliams, Executive Director, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, University of Chicago

Peggy Montes, Founder, Bronzeville Childrens Museum

Justin Garrett Moore, Program Officer, Humanities in Place program, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Katanya Raby, Director of Planning, Far South CDC and Executive Director, Al Raby Foundation

Christopher R. Reed, PhD, Historian and former Commissioner, Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Julieanna Richardson, Founder, The Historymakers

Bashir Salahuddin, Writer and Actor, creator of the TV Show “South Side”

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Social Media Content Creator, Chicago’s TikTok Historian

Tiffany Tolbert, Sr. Director for Preservation, African American Cultural Heritage Fund -National Trust for Historic Preservation

Derrick Warren, Executive Director, Greater Englewood CDC