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A profile in power: Activist Tasha Viets-VanLear fights for black freedom in Chicago

An aura of serenity and peace permeates the room when Tasha Viets-VanLear enters.

Clad in all black with a gray scarf, she sips green tea with her legs crossed in a black swivel chair as we speak. Her hair is cut to wave length, and a silver ring shines from under her nose when the sunlight touches it. With a smile on her face, she says:

My name is Tasha Viets-VanLear. I use ‘she’, ‘her’, and ‘hers’ pronouns. And I’m from Chicago, Illinois.

She is also one of the most preeminent artivists (a person who actively engages in community organizing and protesting, who also creates art that often reflects their activism work) in the Chicago area.

Tasha grew up on Chicago’s North Side with her mother and two brothers, who still reside in the city. She attended Northside College Preparatory High School, where she joined a slam poetry team that was a finalist in the Louder Than A Bomb Slam Poetry Competition for all three years that she participated. After graduating high school, she attended St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota. Like a true Chicagoan, she says her college-town experience caused her to fall more in love with her home city.

 

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