Curtis Toler

Curt works as the Director of Outreach for Chicago Cred, a violence reduction organization led by the former Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan. Toler is leading the charge of training a new generation of violence interrupters and outreach specialists.


Faith, courage, and perseverance played a pivotal role in Curt’s 180 – degree turn in life, and soon the entertainment industry took notice. His expertise around gang-mediation began to spread rapidly. Curt’s natural ability for strategic thinking, leadership, and mediation placed him in high demand with film-makers, entertainers, politicians, and the 44th President of the United States – President Barak Obama.  Toler’s incredible resume includes a guest appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, consulting work on Spike Lee’s film, Chi-raq, and advising Lena Waithe and entertainer/activist Common for the Showtime television series The Chi.  

In addition to Curt’s expertise with gang mediation, he has amassed over a century of Chicago street gang stories through his extensive work and research on gang history. Among his peers, Curt is recognized as a “gang historian” for his dedication to preserving the integrity of Chicago’s street gang stories – the good, the bad, and the unimaginable. Toler’s research around Chicago’s gang history includes interviews with the families of deceased gang leaders, photos, and documented statements. 

Find him on Instagram and Twitter

photo of curtis toler


Panel 2 - On Good Conflict: What If We Called In, Rather Than Called Out?
Outrage and conflict have long offered an easy way to build political power for advocates on both the political right and left. While moral outrage is a critical motivator for change, being kept in a constant high state of tension and conflict by these forces has also served to divide us even further into smaller like-minded groups without the will or skill to courageously cross differences and build power for transformative social change. But although many of us fighting for justice and belonging are willing to express outrage, anger, and "call-outs" online, we often seem unable to engage in...