While the COVID pandemic continues, a parallel epidemic afflicts tens of millions of Americans: chronic illness. People with chronic illness and autoimmune disease – particularly women, working class folks, and BIPOC - are frequently misunderstood, marginalized, and misdiagnosed. How does chronic illness change our sense of self? What strategies are there for people living with invisible pain and suffering to advocate for themselves and cultivate allyship? What is it going to take to improve treatment, and above all to be taken seriously by medical professionals, colleagues, and family? What are examples of growth or transformation experienced by people with chronic illness?
Nitika Chopra is the founder of Chronicon, a media and events company, dedicated to elevating the lives of those living with a chronic illness. Nitika was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 10 and psoriatic arthritis at the age of 19 and lived over 17 years of her life being defined by her conditions. In 2010 she decided to take all of the lessons her health journey had taught her and use it to help others with the creation of her online magazine Bella Life. Since the start of her entrepreneurial journey Nitika has hosted her own TV talk show on Z Living called Naturally Beautiful, hosted over 40 events with hundreds of guests in attendance and has created dynamic partnerships with over 150 brands in the wellness space.
After 10 years in event creation, Nitika launched Chronicon in the fall of 2019, focused on those living with a chronic illness. The event sold out, had over 2,000 livestream viewers, high-level brand sponsors and has been growing ever since. Now, Nitika is excited to announce that Chronicon is expanding online with The Chronicon Community, a new, accessible online space with inspiration, advocacy, and empowerment for chronically ill folks across the globe to connect. Nitika is also the host of The Point of Pain podcast which is available wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Follow her for daily inspiration @NitikaChopra + @ChroniconOfficial.
Meghan O’Rourke, award-winning poet, nonfiction writer, and acclaimed editor, is the author of the poetry collections Sun In Days, Once, and Halflife, as well as the memoirs The Invisible Kingdom and The Long Goodbye. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, among her many other awards, O’Rourke writes for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and is the editor of The Yale Review. O’Rourke resides in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and Marfa, TX.
About Table Talk
We recognize that marginalized communities and cultures -- Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian American, Disabled, LGBTQ+, etc. -- have their own unique perspectives and shared truths. All of these groups face tremendous challenges in dealing with serious illness, dying, grief, discrimination. And there is a shared need for platforms to talk about these issues freely in order to connect, learn, heal, remember, and take action.
While individual Table Talks are developed by and for specific communities, we recognize that often these groupings are permeable. Many of us describe more than one group as “home,” and many of us have experienced oppression based on multiple aspects of our intersecting identities: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and more.
Reimagine invites people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen and learn at Table Talk. Ultimately we are creating space rooted in the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in order for everyone to thrive.
Table Talk is made possible with support from the Fetzer Institute and the John and Wauna Harman Foundation.