Who Are We?
A native Southerner, Rich grew up in Gloster, Mississippi – a small town with a population of 960. After calling Alabama and Georgia home for seven years, Rich moved to Chicago in 2014 to work at Urban Village Church and is enjoying building roots in this great city. He feels called by God to create faith communities where all people are both truly welcome and invited to follow Jesus with all they've got. Rich is a big fan of: spending quality time with quality friends, drinking a good (or not so good) cup of coffee, and trying to keep up with the septuagenarians at spin class.
Jordan was born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago, but currently lives in a northwest suburb. She is a sophomore double majoring in Anthropology and Latin American & Latino Studies. Jordan's experiences coming from a queer, multiracial family background influences her work in social change. She is also a firm believe in intersectionality and solidarity in our movements. Jordan's goal is to work as an Anthropologist supporting many types of communities throughout Chicago, specifically for LBGTQA+ Latinx youth.When she's not in class, she participates in other organizations such as Native American Student Organization, Pride, Anthropology Club, and Mexican Students de Aztlan.
Ari is a native born Chicagoan, living on the South Side his whole life. He is majoring in Education with a concentration in High School English. Ari pulls from experiences of teaching students of all ages, from different backgrounds, in multiple subject areas like Math, English, Art, and Science. As a Gay Latino, he works in social justice in areas of mental health education, the arts, education, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Ari’s goal is to teach in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and move onto Educational Policy from there. When not in class, Ari is an Educational Resident at the Hyde Park Art Center, a writing tutor, a writer and reader, and learning from different people he meets in his life.
Born and raised in small-town Central Illinois, Zoie came to Chicago to attend UIC and take part in big-city life. Recognizing that her entire life had been in a homogenous community, she hoped to engage with folks of all different backgrounds and experiences. UIC’s community brought that and so much more! Through her exploration on campus and beyond, Zoie found a love for teaching, a fierce desire to ensure healthcare is accessible and provided by culturally-responsive physicians, and a deeper connection with Jesus Christ. Her experiences teaching health education across Chicago, growing up queer in a space that wasn’t always welcoming, and engaging in conversations across her diverse city and campus have instilled a passion for ensuring spaces are inclusive and welcoming for every person and all of who they are. She is so excited to be serving as The Inclusive Collective’s Inclusivity Intern! When she takes a step back from all this busyness, Zoie loves anything creative- dancing, painting, photography, writing, you name it!
We are The Inclusive Collective.
We are a community.
We are Artists. Intellectuals. Realists. Weirdos. Doubters. Believers. Students. People.
We are a safe place to be our whole selves.
Unashamed of who we are. What we look like. Or who we love.
We are shamelessly Christian.
And we’re reclaiming the genuine love it should mean.
We are Leaders and Activists.
We are Servants to those in need.
We are Fighters for true justice.
With Christ as our fuel.
And we exist to inspire radically inclusive communities that explore, share, and flourish in Christ’s grace.
WE STRIVE TO BE
- Christ-Centered — Jesus Christ’s life, love, and transformative grace fuel who we are and all we do. We aren’t talking about a gentle, white Jesus with long flowing blonde hair. We’re talking about the Jesus who speaks truth to power, includes all people, and offers ridiculous amounts of grace. We want everyone to experience a life-changing relationship with this Jesus, who is better and bigger than we can imagine.
- Multi-Ethnic/Anti-Racist + Inclusive — Christianity often excludes and operates with racism, and that sucks. But God dreams of a world where the walls that divide us and the systems that oppress us come crashing down. So, we’re committed to the transformative-yet-messy work that nurtures a community where all people feel truly welcome and valued. And when we say all, we mean ALL. LGBTQ and Straight; Black, Brown, and White; Believers and Doubters, Freshmen and Grad Students — you’re all heard, seen, and loved here.
- Communal — Even on a large urban campus and with constant connection on social media, we can still experience loneliness. But life isn’t meant to be a solo thing, so let’s build strong community right here on campus. A community that serves, plays, laughs, seeks justice, studies, debates, and experiences grace together. A community that feels more like family than just another social network.
- Authentic — Guess what? None of us have all our stuff together, and that’s totally okay. We don’t have to worry about pretending or hiding. In this community, we bring our full selves – a raw and complex mix of beauty and brokenness. Having strong doubts? Voice them. Struggling with an addiction? Ask for help. Experiencing incredible joy? Invite us to celebrate. We reject shame and embrace openness around here.
- Active — Jesus was never satisfied with the status-quo, especially when it harmed vulnerable populations. He challenged earthly power structures when they stood in the way of God’s vision for a just society. With Jesus as our model, we long to be a community committed to the work of justice and service, particularly in our own backyard. God is moving in powerful ways among and through our neighbors and in our world, so we will join in on what God is already up to.