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Elijah McKinnon

Elijah is an award-winning entrepreneur, artist and visionary from the future currently residing on planet earth. They received a Bachelors of Science from the Art Institute of San Francisco in Marketing and Management with a focus in Campaign Development and New Media studies. In addition to serving as the Founder and Director of People Who Care, Inc.—their independent consultancy and studio practice that works exclusively with nonprofits and grassroots initiatives such as AIDS Foundation Chicago, Northwestern University, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Grindr for Equality, Center for Disease Control, and many more—they are also deeply involved in queer, creative, and philanthropic communities around the globe.

They are constantly moving and shaking in an attempt to build meaningful relationships and encourage resource sharing. Elijah coproduced and starred in Chicago’s #PrEP4Love campaign; is the cofounder and development director of Reunion Chicago, a exhibition space and project incubator prioritized for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC in creative roles; is the cofounder and executive director of OTV – Open Television, a web TV platform for queer, trans, and artists of color; and is a curator in residence at Estudio Teorema, a culturally-charged activist gallery and production studio located in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Elijah's artistic practice and activism sit at the intersections of healing, wellness, race, sexuality, gender, new media, and storytelling. Their work explores themes of space-making, liberation, and resilience as seen in their highly acclaimed web series, Two Queens in a Kitchen, a turn-to-relevance cooking show exploring art, culture, and politics. Most recently, THANDO, Elijah's first feature-length film exploring black, queer vulnerability was written and produced in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is scheduled to be released in late summer 2021. They are currently in pre-production for their first feature-length documentary examining substance abuse in the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

Elijah's professional, artistic, and advocacy work has been covered by the Chicago Tribune, Out Magazine, CBS, VICE, Pride, PBS, and many more publications. They have performed and exhibited work around the globe in spaces such as the Museum for Contemporary Art Chicago, Soho House (Berlin, London, Barcelona), J&B Hive (South Africa), Raúl Anguiano Art Museum (Mexico), and more.

Over the years, Elijah's work ethic and commitment to equitable solutions have garnered awards and acknowledgements including but not limited to being named a finalist of the Grinnell College Innovator in Social Justice Prize in 2021; a recipient of the prestigious New Leaders of Chicago award by the Field Foundation of Illinois and MacArthur Foundation in 2020; acknowledged as New City's Film 50 Issue as one of the Top 10 of 50 individuals changing the landscape of film in 2019; and in 2016 Elijah was named “Top 30 Under 30 LGBT People" in Chicago, Illinois, by the Windy City Times and was invited to the first annual African American LGBTQ Education Summit at The White House.

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