Skip to contents
Bronzeville, Near South Side

Dilla The Urban Historian Will Teach People How To Get Involved In Civics During Virtual ‘Coffee Chat’ Wednesday

The virtual discussion will be the first in a series of events to promote civic engagement.

Shermann Thomas, known for his Chicago history posts via his Tik Tok account @6figga_dilla, poses for a portrait outside Cook Elementary School Ð where Thomas attended as a youth Ð in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on May 11, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

BRONZEVILLE — You can chat with Sherman Thomas — TikTok’s Dilla the Urban Historian — and Ald. Sophia King (4th) about Bronzeville on Wednesday.

The two will dive into the community’s rich history while discussing the 2022 city budget and public policy during the 90-minute discussion, which starts 6:30 p.m. People can register here.

The virtual event is the kickoff to the Black Researchers Collective’s Coffee Chat series.

Thomas said he’s looking forward to sharing how research can empower everyday people to change their communities. For example, Auburn Gresham residents mobilized to stop the city from changing the zoning designation of a closed high school after reading about the subject, he said.

“When we are actively engaged, we get a bigger bite,” Thomas said.

There will also be a paid community workshop intensive in early December for people who live or work in Bronzeville. Participants will learn how to identify policy challenges and leverage research tools to take their policy issue from ideation to a plan of action.

“It was birthed from a vision of wanting to work within and across all Black communities in the city, yet recognizing that it is important that we also honor, listen, respect and do our best to reflect on the needs of community prior to building within it to not perpetuate or exacerbate what we seek to disrupt,” said Glenance Green, co-founder and executive director of The Black Researchers Collective.

The Black-women-led group will host followup coffee chats with other local luminaries focusing on a new Chicago community each quarter, with South Shore up next.

In-person chats may also be in the offing, said Green, and the December intensive will be held in person due to its smaller number of participants.

“Our work is a Black liberation project. It is intended for Black people, by Black people, to strengthen our skills and capacity to build collective power,” Green said.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: