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Equality Should Be Normal, a Chicago-based 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to eradicate racism while advocating for violence prevention, education reform, mentorship and enriching the Black community, has announced the first-ever ESBN Virtual Gala. On Wednesday, December 9, ESBN Founder Romel Murphy and Board Chair Stephanie Izard invite home viewers to cook an  meal alongside Chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Carla Hall, Joe Flamm, Kristen Kish, and Brian Jupiter and enjoy musical performances by Miguel Cervantes of Hamilton, Jonathan McReynolds and more.

In addition to virtual entertainment, the $200 ticket includes a meal kit, with all ingredients and recipes needed to cook recipes alongside the chefs. Tickets can be purchased on Tock for local, Chicago pick-up and nationwide delivery  (link here: The funds raised from the Virtual Gala will go towards the forthcoming Barbara Murphy Community Resource Center, which will offer free services to the Washington Park Community and its surrounding areas, including college and career preparation, mental health services, food/clothing/hygiene product distribution, safe havens for youth, and more.  

“Equality Should Be Normal is the most energizing, forward-thinking organization I’ve ever been a part of,” says ESBN Board Chair, Stephanie Izard, “Romel has already made huge strides in helping the community and I’m honored to stand beside him in the fight for equality.”

Executive Director, Romel Murphy founded Equality Should Be Normal on Juneteenth, 2020 and, in  a few short months, has organized a Peace & Equality Rally for over 8,000 Chicagoans and created the Make A Difference Weekend where ESBN fed some of the most divested communities in Chicago, had a panel discussion on racism, and facilitated free COVID-19 testing. ESBN also had the opportunity to take 9 Chicago youths to Washington DC to participate in The Commitment March and visit 6 Historically Black College and Universities. 

“I grew up in a neighborhood in St Louis that mirrors many underrepresented communities around the country,” says ESBN Executive Director, Romel Murphy. “I founded Equality Should Be Normal to promote justice and equality for all Black people in Chicago – and especially for my two Black children.”

Equality Should Be Normal has also announced their executive board, which includes a group of  Chicagoans:

  •  Stephanie Izard (Board Chair) is the Executive Chef and Owner of four Chicago restaurants, Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat and Cabra, along with the forthcoming Girl & the Goat LA.
  • Kres Snyder (Board Vice Chair) is the Co-Founder and Partner of Minds Empowered Counseling Services.
  • Rachelle Felix-Blackmon (Board Treasurer) is the Global Director of Business Operations for the Cyber Security firm, Trustwave and the managing broker owner of real estate firm, North & Loyal. 
  • Jared R. Rogers (Board Member, ESBN Accountant) is an Illinois-licensed Certified Public Accountant and CEO of the Chicago-based financial services firm Wilson Rogers & Company. 
  • Anna Graham (Board Member) is a master’s level therapist and advocate for Transgender/LGBTQIA rights.
  • Michelle Herndon (Board Member) is the Director of Diversity & Community at Boka Restaurant Group.
  • Walter Thomas (Board Member) is the CEO of Agency 22 Entertainment.


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