OnWord’s New Park for “Non-Traditional Skaters” in Chicago

Like many places, Chicago’s skate scene is dominated by straight, white cis men, oftentimes leaving women, people of color, gender-nonconforming and queer individuals feeling unwelcome or intimidated in skateparks. OnWord, a collective on a mission to empower “non-traditional skaters,” seeks to change that. For their most recent project, the group built their own pop-up park, called OnSite, where all people can feel safe and welcome. Situated in the parking lot of another Chicago skatepark, OnSite is more than an accessible park—it’s also a symbolic gesture. “There’s power in irony, right?” says one of the founders of the collective, T Smith. “We’re in the parking lot of a skatepark where many of these people felt uncomfortable. And we’re making our own.” By encouraging and empowering each other, OnWord increasingly fosters accessibility within the skateboarding community. Learn more about them at The Lily.

Image of Lia Madrid, courtesy of Jamie Kelter Davis/The Washington Post/The Lily