Core Artists

Monica Trinidad

Monica Trinidad is a queer, Latinx artist & organizer, born & raised on the southeast side of Chicago. She is a co-founder of Brown & Proud Press, For the People Artists Collective, and the People’s Response Team. Monica actively pushes for spaces where both artists & organizers recognize the necessity of cultural organizing, and creates work to uplift and document struggles in Black & Brown communities in Chicago. She has created movement art for over 20 grassroots organizations and efforts in Chicago, and has had work shown at DuSable Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, East Meets World Gallery, and more. Visit her website to view artwork at

Bria Royal

Bria Royal is a black bori from the west side of Chicago whose brain is hardwired in such a way that necessitates art and visual aesthetics as a mode for making meaning out of the world around her. Bria currently works for the youth media production organization Free Spirit Media curating opportunities for West and South Side youth to explore diverse forms of digital arts and expression. Visit Bria’s website to view artwork at

Hoda Katebi

Hoda Katebi is a Chicago-based Muslim-Iranian photographer, community organizer, and radical fashion blogger. She is the author & photographer of the book Tehran Streetstyle, the first-ever in-print collection of streetstyle photography from Iran aimed to challenge both Western Orientalism and domestic Iranian mandatory dress codes. In 2013 she started JooJoo Azad, an online platform focusing on self-representation & narrative reclamation through an intersection of mediums (fashion, photography, writing) and issues (Islamophobia, Orientalism, #BlacklivesMatter, etc). Hoda’s work has been featured on various online, in-print, radio, and television media internationally.

Jireh L. Drake

Jireh L. Drake is a Queer Black Woman, who is reimagining life. They are often smiling, spittin spoken word or freestyling some silly bars. Jireh facilitates social justice-based dialogues and creates media that represents a myriad of underrepresented identities. Recently they have been unpacking their salient identities through creating mixed media installations. Jireh is experimenting with a variety of different mediums and is currently finding their love for sculpture.

E Armea

E Armea is a Pisces sun, Taurus rising, and Gemini moon. He loves to work collaboratively with people and believes it is a dream to be able to do that with Black and POC artists who are such visionaries, builders and passionate for the movement and community. E is an organizing member of the Chicago Dyke March Collective, Kaluluwa kolectivo, and Color Queer Kinksters. He makes art for POC Queer and trans folks, filipinos, and people he loves. E loves red pandas, woods and trees, the sun, wind, canoeing, the Philippines, and the strength and love found in community.

Teshika Silver

Teshika Silver (Tesh for short) is a creative with over ten years of wide-range professional art experience. She is a talented graphic designer, working with local organizations and small business owners alike; be it designing logos, promotional pieces or anything in between. Tesh focuses on healing spaces for organizers and Black/POC folx in general, such as the Chicago Femme Noire group and SOLID Collective Get-Togethers. View Tesh’s work at her website

Tita Thomas

Tita Thomas is a visual artist and youth advocate from the South Side of Chicago. When she is not busy being magical, she enjoys dancing in her living room and laughing at memes. Tita is an organizing member of Assata’s Daughters. She is currently finishing an artist residency at the Experimental Station on the south side of Chicago, facilitating weekly art workshops with young people.

Melisa Stephen 

Melisa Stephen is a queer, depressed, non-binary femme artist, organizer, and aspiring healer and youth worker of South Asian and Middle Eastern diasporic descent. They were born and raised in Louisville, KY, and are a Pisces sun, Pisces rising, and Libra moon! Melisa brings a deep investment in youth organizing, popular education, community accountability, transformative/restorative justice, trauma-informed work, and healing to FTP, and they resolve to steer politics out from clouds of theory and into the realm of the personal and living practice.  They have facilitated workshops on topics like enthusiastic consent, safe sex, zines, harm reduction, sex work, solidarity with Palestine, pinkwashing, trans/gender non-conforming 101, and community safety. They make art for other QTPOC, mad and sad weirdos, Black & Brown witches, and confused diaspora babes. They believe in the power of the Femme and the possibility of transformation. Melisa is a founding member of FTP and a core member of both Brown and Proud Press and Chicago Dyke March.

Leila Abdelrazaq

Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-born, Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi, was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards. Her creative work primarily explores issues related to diaspora, refugees, history, memory, and borders. Leila has been involved in organizing around the Palestinian cause and the city of Chicago since 2011, specifically with Students for Justice in Palestine both national and locally for four years, and also with a variety of other Palestine and Arab-focused orgs and projects. Leila is the founder of Bigmouth Press & Comix, a blog and distro dedicated to uplifting the work of female and non-binary comix artists with roots in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. View more of Leila’s work at


Sarah-Ji is a movement photographer who has been documenting freedom struggles in Chicago for the past 6 years. Sarah’s long term work is to build a world in which prisons and police are not necessary, and no one is disposable. She currently works towards that by supporting the Movement for Black Lives, #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName campaigns, and by organizing with Love & Protect. She is the mother of Cadence who refused to be punished since she was a toddler, which eventually led to Sarah’s abolitionist politics. Her main “claim to fame” is having taken more photos of Mariame Kaba (after 2011) and gotten away with it than any other person on earth. View more of Sarah’s work at

Ruby Pinto

Ruby Pinto is an organizer and artist based in Chicago. She grew up doing all kinds of art and currently enjoys glass blowing and working with copper. She also loves to teach and make art with her community, and believes that creative expression is at the core of liberation. You can view and purchase Ruby’s fabulous jewelry work at

Vicko Alvarez Vega

Vicko Alvarez Vega is a native Tejana, current graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, an aspiring middle school teacher, and the creator and illustrator of the ScholaR Comics web series. The comic is based on her childhood as well as the lives of the students she’s had the privilege of teaching in Chicago’s southside. The stories touch on the realities of growing up poor in an immigrant home while also maintaining pride in your community. Vicko and her work have been featured in Latina, The Odyssey,  and Radio One Chicago. View more about Vicko and her comic web series, ScholaR Comics at

Johannil Napoleon

Johannil is a multimedia artist, activist, and art therapist. As an Afro-Dominican Haitian, her paintings, drawings, photography, and multimedia work depicts personal reflections of Blackness and Womanhood in relation to society and culture. Her passion is to continue to use art as a tool for healing and social change to empower marginalized communities and Black women and girls. Johannil has had work featured at Woman Made Gallery, Rumble Arts Center, and painted a permanent mural through the Mariposa DR Foundation in the Dominican Republic. View more of Johannil’s work at

Naimah Thomas

Naimah Thomas is a Chicago-based art therapist and graduate of the Masters of Arts in Art Therapy program from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Naimah has been creating art based on what she has been witnessing in the media, within her community, and the impact it has on her identity. The art that she has been working on recently puts Black women and Black girls in the center. Naimah says, “in a world constantly tells you that your Blackness is a weakness, I think it’s important to use art to create more visibility. We not only need more visibility when it comes to Blackness, but more visibility around what it means to be a Black woman.” Read more about Naimah’s art practice at


Anurag Lahiri

Anurag Lahiri is a queer Muslim artivist, community organizer, and social worker based in Chicago. They are on the steering committees for the Queer South Asian National Network and DeQh, the Desi LGBTQ Helpline. Anurag has also been on the programming committee for A Long Walk Home for a few years, where they have been able to tap into their more creative side. Anurag believes that art and activism are inherently connected, and that a piece of art, music, or performance, has the power to transform the artist as well as those who are viewing and experiencing it.