My entire life has been dedicated to public service. My family instilled community as a cornerstone of my life. The most important value being that you are a member of your community, and you do your part to help. Volunteering in homeless shelters, delivering toys to children whose parents were incarcerated, and tutoring students at the schools my mother worked as a CPS teacher, these values have stayed with me my entire life. As a law student, I continued to serve my community. However, whether it was in criminal defense or immigration, I constantly felt like I was in a sinking ship just throwing out water. Yet, when I worked with the John Marshall Law School Restorative Justice Project, I saw how policy can make a real difference in people’s lives. In that work, I observed and taught restorative principles to teachers and students in a CPS high school on the South Side. During this program, I created a project where students were required to identify a school rule or policy that disenfranchised them as students.
Then students created a new policy that did not disenfranchise them, but still accomplished the original goal the school needed to achieve. Through those student's eyes I saw how self-determination helped students have a more equitable educational experience. This helped lead me toward the path of workforce development where I believed I could help people create change in their own lives.
My belief is that investment in mental health and skill development through educational programming is a catalyst towards securing economic self-sufficiency and self-determination in our communities. Self-determination is very important to me. Through personal experiences I saw how people not from the South-Side viewed the South-Side. I saw how good intentions were often corrupted by arrogance, apathy, and a lack of connection to the community. This more than anything is what inspires me to run for office now. I want to share the power of political office, give constituents results, and make everyone as proud to be from this community as I am.