She’s worked as a press officer, writer, researcher, spokesperson and crisis communications professional in government and the non-profit sector, and as a script writer, photographer, development professional and reporter in radio and print for institutions that range from the Pacifica Radio Network to the University of Chicago. She has a strong background as an organizer and strategist for grassroots campaigns that tackle tough issues in the electoral sector, government and civil society, and she has a wealth of tactical knowhow in messaging to diverse constituencies and communities.
Chris formed HammerHard MediaWorks in 1995 to help the family of Jorge Guillen and their volunteer attorneys with the People’s Law Office after Guillen was beaten and bludgeoned to death by three white police officers in front of his wife, teenage daughter and two-year-old son. She subsequently served as media consultant on a range of high-profile police violence cases, including the police murders of LaTanya Haggerty and Robert Russ and the police beating of Jeremiah Mearday.
In the years since HammerHard’s formation, Chris has worked with and trained a growing network of activists and advocates on tactical media work, constituency-building, outreach and organizing, including in the burgeoning milieu of social networking. She’s no stranger to organizing the old-fashioned way, either — she worked on her first political campaign, walked her first precinct and knocked on her first round of doors at the age of 14 for her father Tom, the independent Democratic candidate for Illinois State Senate in the 7th District, a race he narrowly lost to an entrenched conservative incumbent who should have beaten him by a landslide.
In the last decade, she’s worked with groups that range from the Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism and Occupy Chicago to Viva Palestina and Portoluz, as well as a wide range of non-profit and commercial clients in arenas from affordable housing development to immigrant rights.