My story is not always easy for me to tell. I decided to tell it by writing it as a personal letter to you all so that I could speak from the heart, which is the only way that feels right.
To 11th Ward Residents and Whom Else It May Concern,
My story is not always easy for me to tell. I decided to tell it by writing it as a personal letter to you all so that I could speak from the heart, which is the only way that feels right. I write this to you, with sincerity, as a person who has undergone the same strains as any other working class person through the long years of this pandemic, and broadly, in my life as one of the majority of us who have had to struggle to get by.
Through my 34 years as one of the many, like those I seek to represent, I have watched injured loved ones be denied healthcare. I have felt my sense of dignity shrink in the face of judgment from people who looked down on me and my family for turning to food banks, for wearing the same few worn pieces of clothing over and over, for having to ask for a ride to the grocery store yet again. For needing help in a society that scorns the helpless.
When I was 17 years old, I moved to Chicago to live with my older brother in his studio apartment because my life in rural Illinois had become unbearable. Without a car or a home to call our own, my mother and I had been struggling for years. I got a job at the Davis Theater and started working until 11 PM on school nights to earn my keep. I was mocked by my new coworkers for my choice of shoe - the only pair I could find at the local thrift store that conformed to the dress code. Then, my mother joined us in Chicago and we shared the air mattress that took up the entire living space of the studio apartment. Then my younger brother moved in too, and slept on a camping mat squeezed into the kitchen alongside the counter.
Despite those hardships, Chicago saved my life. I went from being a high school dropout to earning a Master’s degree in teaching. In Chicago, I was able to walk to work and get a paycheck and help my mom with rent, so we could have our own place for the first time in a long time. In Chicago, we could take the bus to the grocery store. In Chicago, someone like me could pick up The Reader on the corner for free and have a finger on the pulse of culture and politics. This city made me who I am, and I will never forget the debt I owe her.
There are aspects of my life that have been frightening and painful. Being given the opportunity to persevere through these hardships made me tenacious, tough, and resourceful. I’ve learned to demand things that I once thought I had no place wanting. I’ve learned to talk to people I once thought I had no place talking to.
I am driven to action by the fact that, despite how hard I’ve had to fight to live a dignified life, I have so many privileges that were conferred upon me that others do not have. If I had been undocumented, or my mother had been undocumented, would we have been able to get jobs? If I didn’t speak English, would I have been able to get assistance when I had to turn to a tenants’ rights organization to fight a dangerously negligent landlord? If I wasn’t white, would I have been the victim of a hate crime, or held back by discrimination? I certainly would have struggled even more. My struggles have made me who I am, but they were not fair, and no one should have to fight to survive when we have so many resources at our disposal. And no one should have to fight to be treated with respect and dignity.
No one should have to fight to survive when we have so many resources at our disposal. And no one should have to fight to be treated with respect and dignity.
That is why, when I moved to Bridgeport in 2012 and saw an opportunity to give back by volunteering at the Benton House food pantry, I immediately did it. That is why, in the summer of 2020 when people stood out on the streets with weapons, profiling and threatening people who live here, I wrote a public letter and organized a rally at the 11th ward office to force the alderman to put a stop to it. I love this ward, but it has a long way to go before it is inclusive - and platitudes won’t fix it. I am prepared to advocate for our Asian, Black, Latino, and immigrant neighbors, both as a member of Chicago City Council and through an engaged and active ward office. Over the past two years I was blessed enough to be given the opportunity to teach social studies to middle schoolers right here in the neighborhood I love so dearly. Sharing my enthusiasm for civics, history, economics, and urban planning with them and then getting to see them around the neighborhood as they continue to grow up has been one of the proudest and most meaningful experiences of my life. Now I want to show them that what I tried to teach them really is true: regular, working-class people like us can shape the world around us, and by doing so we can make things better for ourselves and for those among us who are suffering.
With encouragement, backing, and hard work from many members of the community, we launched my campaign for alderman back in October because me and my neighbors are tired of watching people in positions of power do nothing for us.
Most of our political representatives claim to stand for a lot of the same things I do. However, the actions taken by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, her administration, and many aldermen on our city council consistently fail to provide everyday people with what we need and with what we deserve. My public service over the past decade proves that my one and only motivation is my commitment to working towards a government that functions for the benefit of building people power to make society better for us all.
I will never make deals behind your back, and I’m ready to fight for you on Chicago City Council. Let’s move the 11th ward forward, together.
These viaducts are a tragedy waiting to happen because of decades of neglect. Sign the petition below to show your alderman that you support Resolution R2022-530 to bring Union Pacific in for a hearing
Saturday, October 22nd
We’re having an OPEN HOUSE to celebrate both the grand opening of our new campaign office AND Ambria's 35th Birthday! Starts at 3 PM, goes until we are too tired to party!
Wear a costume and you might win an award! Is it 11th ward themed? Even better! This is a kid-friendly event, but we will have a limited number of drinks available for those over 21!