Kat O'Brien has a lifelong history of wholeheartedly investing in her communities.
All too often, we're so worried about "getting it wrong" that we miss opportunities to be righteous. Throughout her professional career and in her public service, Kat O'Brien has fiercely dedicated herself to finding ways to advocate for the historically excluded and activate her communities to organize and mobilize for social justice.
Recently, Kat was invited to join the Video Team and Company for the Social Justice Improv Project (Fall '21). To devise theater and video through an intersectional feminist lens, Kat draws upon a long history of public service and activism in her local community.
From 2008 - 2010, Kat served as the Communications Co-Director for Generation Obama: Los Angeles (GO:LA) and its transition organization, Generation for Change. In this role, she worked to rally young professionals to the cause of progressive change, and helped elect the candidate, Barack Obama. Generation Obama's grassroots efforts channeled the traditionally untapped resources of diverse talent and driving energy that now define the young professional generation. Recognizing the need to continue to work towards common progress, GO:LA became Generation for Change. G4C redoubled their efforts for change beyond the Presidential campaign trail and into communities, public policy, and on issues that influenced their lives and the lives of those around them. During this time, Kat also co-founded Create Equality, a 501c3 dedicated to raising awareness and supporting art installations centered on LBGTQIA+ rights.
Kat has had the honor of consulting with multiple Democratic candidates seeking national, state, and local offices. She has experience working with political consultants to support those campaigns. In her own candidacy, Kat has been supported by Emily's List, Run for Something, and Rodham Consulting. In June 2021, Kat was invited to join Congresswoman Cheri Bustos' June 2021 "Build the Bench" program. Whether volunteering to support policy development or organizing community members to mobilize and activate, Kat remains steadfast in her commitment to serve her community and fight for justice, for all.
Currently, Kat is invested in creating equitable learning environments for students in Chicago and beyond. Kat's passion for bridging the digital divide led her to co-produce the highly praised We Still Teach, a collaboration between Fox 32 Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union. We Still Teach put teachers on television to connect students to their education during school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We Still Teach was featured in The New York Times along with other educational programs created in response to the pandemic.
As an elected representative for her Local School Council, Kat helped LaSalle Language Academy achieve their 100% Digital Access Campaign during the 2020-2021 year of remote learning. This campaign ensured that every student could connect to a device and reliable internet. Exacerbated by the pandemic, digital divide issues persist throughout our communities, and Kat continues to explore solutions to address them.