I wrote this page to be more than a resume, or a list of things that I have done, or jobs I've held… but to instead take you along on my journey into politics and becoming a steward of equality for those most forgotten. If this page can answer just one “why”, it has done its job.
The Fitted Man was my first foray into the world of entrepreneurship. I learned the fundamentals of starting and growing a business and interacted with the city's Economic Development Dep. for the first time.
I was the recipient of the ECDC grant which coupled me with a giant, Bennett Johnson, as my business mentor.
In response to increasing local community violence, I organized an anti-violence march around E.T.H.S. We brought young people and our elders together to reestablish a sense of community and strategize about ways to reduce violence.
Inspired by Alderman Holmes, Judge Baptiste, and youth speakers, two NU journalism students and I began focusing on educating ourselves on the existing youth programming and identifying potential service gaps.
We intended to develop programs to re-engage disconnected youth while being careful not to recreate the wheel.
During this time, I also served as 5th ward field manager for Citizens for a Better Evanston. We were organizing in support of a referendum to build a public school in the 5th ward. It was an honor to serve alongside people like Dr. Gilo Kwesi Logan, Mia Logan, Mr. Jerome Summers, Toly Walker, and Peter Gibbs.
In 2013 we launched our first pilot program, an NBA 2k tournament, to engage young adults at Boocoo Cultural Center. The cost of entry was a commitment to attend an intake orientation with the Youth Job Center, and the prize was $200 and a business suit. Kevin Brown and Maurice Wilkerson were our COE co-sponsors.
Following successful events at Boocoo, we pursued an opportunity to purchase and revitalize the space.
The concept was to create a developmental center that served youth who were no longer thriving in existing structured programming, while reestablishing the space as a community hub and experiential events space.
In 2014, city council considered a proposal to add surveillance cameras along Church and Dodge. Applying a tech fix to a problem people can solve didn't mesh with our efforts to build community. School safety was a great cause - cameras were a premature fix - so we pushed for additional information and public input.
It was an honor to sit on a panel with the former Youth and Young Adult Development director Kevin Brown and photographer Richard Pack - who captured protests in Ferguson - to learn and share our personal journeys of organizing and affecting change. Dino Robinson, Executive Director of Shorefront moderated the event.
As a political consultant, I've worked to improve our communities through elections, direct policy advocacy, and collaborating with community members and stakeholders to find areas of common ground. My work has allowed me to better understand all levels of local government and the inequities present in each of them.
Joined Dear Evanston, Leslie Shad and 5th Warders Joyce Hill, Steven Adams-Cochran, Stephanie Saunders and others in organizing a festival the summer of 2016. We had 100 booths of Evanston's nonprofits, live bands, food vendors and a memorial for all those who had been killed by gun violence. #togetherness
After learning that 270 pounds of edible food ended up in garbage cans each week- while one in seven residents are food insecure- we brought together Evanston Food Exchange, Edible Evanston, Zero Percent and Kumar Jensen to a café located in the 5th Ward to discuss ways to limit food waste in Evanston.
My time as Deputy Clerk came during a period of transition for this office, affording me the ability to learn city functions & identify opportunities. We took action, including adding a self-reporting question on race during the board recruitment mandatory filing periods to ensure diverse voices amongst the committee.
2017 marked our evolution into a more intentional and collaborative working relationship with city staff and elected officials. Sharon Johnson, Business Workplace Compliance Coordinator for the city and Sat Nagar, Senior Project Manager, assisted us on our first piece exploring the city's approach to local hiring.
Successfully advocated for the continuation of public meetings to obtain more complete and satisfactory community feedback, regarding how Evanston would best establish a citizens working group to review the Evanston Police Department policies and procedures on citizen complaints.
Created a collaborative event where elected officials and Evanston residents could weigh-in on equity & inclusion solutions; one of which led to our organization forming the African American, Black, and Caribbean Parent Committee at District 65 (ABC).
Launched a partnership between ABC Family Group & District 65 to ensure a generational safe place to support and advance ABC students. This collaboration solidified a permanent presence for this organization by ensuring a monthly meeting space, long-term budget, and seat at the table to policy making decisions.
Increased public awareness around a milestone issue at the Evanston Public Library. These discussions in part led to a closer examination of the library during its equity review, challenging the board to evaluate ways to assist those most underserved.