The last few years have been tough for the 1st Congressional District. A pandemic. The height of racial tension. A blatant assault on our democracy. A new outbreak of community violence in Chicago and in municipalities across the district.
All the while, our two track economy has run amuck. The super rich have gotten richer in America, while everyday folks across the 1st district are expected to settle for sporadic aid and temporary fixes.
Even in the face of this hardship, people across this district came together and brought out the best of ourselves.
We worked across geographic, class, and racial boundaries to source and distribute PPE. We set up sites for testing and vaccination. Across the district, churches and community organizations passed out food and gasoline and prayed all night on violent street corners. Leaders have had hard conversations about how we can improve policing and race relations. Neighbors have phoned the lonely and helped local business owners clean up after nights of rioting.
But somehow that spirit - which is so alive in the 1st District - has not found its way into our government.
While we struggled to make ends meet, our current leaders could not muster the strength to refuse to settle for anything less than consistent, permanent solutions that could begin to rebalance our economy. When honest critique gave way to baseless attacks on law enforcement officers, our current representative could not find the voice to say what people across our district believe: we want accountability and innovation, but our police are a valuable component of a robust public safety approach. There is a severe disconnect between the values we hold dear - values that built our communities and our families - and the values of the wealthy and powerful leaders we've allowed to maintain power.
That is wrong. We may not be the largest or the wealthiest district. But, our voices and our values are worth fighting for.
I believe that our Congressman should lift up the voices of hardworking people from forgotten places, even when the political bosses don’t want to hear what we have to say. We believe that we can spark a movement in Washington to rebalance our economy, rescue our education system, reimagine public safety, and rebuild our democracy. Because Black, White, or Brown, we all want a society where every person can be safe in their home and community, financially and physically healthy, and optimistic about the future for themselves and their family.
I didn’t go anywhere to get my values. I got them right here in this community.
I am a different kind of Democrat from the wealthy and well-connected that do everything in their power to maintain the status quo that made them wealthy, powerful Democratic leaders, but I'm no different than my friends, family, and neighbors whose voices and values are calling for change that lifts up our families and makes them stronger, no matter what. This isn't a campaign about what powerful people I've worked for. It's about taking back our party and our power.
Together, we can defy the odds, defeat the status quo, and build a future that works for all of us.
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