1. If you previously or currently serve in a public office, what did you accomplish in that capacity related to furthering inclusion and equity?
–As the 26th Precinct Committeeperson, I encouraged and helped small businesses in my ward to apply for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan and I went door-to-door to remind residents to vote in the November election.
–As Commissioner of the Madison County Housing Authority Board, I supported and helped pass resolutions to refurbish housing for low-income residents and am presently overseeing the management of the Hillsboro housing project for seniors in Edwardsville
2. What have you done or do you do in your personal and/or professional life to further inclusion and equity?
— I am Executive Director of the Quad City Community Development Center, a non-profit committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged youth in Madison. We offer summer camp and hot meals to children. These children are approximately 95% Black and Latino and come from severely low-income families. We also hosted several events where we gave away pandemic-related items like masks, sanitizing wipes, other household items and food.
–I wrote the grant for the Quad City Community Development Center which brought in $10,000. We were able to subcontract this sum with our partners: the YWCA of Alton, the Metro East Peacekeepers, and the Joe Robert Youth Club. This enabled us to educate people — who could otherwise have been marginalized — about the importance of the census and assist them in filling out census forms.
–My sister in-law DeWanda Crochrell and I wrote a grant for “Healing Illinois” which established “Racial Healing Circles” whose purpose is to foster understanding and empathy amongst people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. I personally organized and am still participating in one of these “Racial Healing Circles”.
— Including next weekend I will have participated in three of the Red Hill Church food giveaways this past month which got much needed food to people in Edwardsville and Madison.
3. Do you think the Ninian Edwards statue should remain in City Plaza? Why or why not?
— I believe that our community strives to be inclusive. For many people, the statue calls to mind Edwards’ oppression of Black and Native peoples. It doesn’t deserve to be held in high regard as it is now and should be removed. It doesn’t represent the make-up of our community.
4. Do you support the City of Edwardsville utilizing affirmative action policies in employment and contracting? Why or why not?
–Absolutely. Affirmative action policies are still needed to correct years of discrimination. Underrepresented people such as women and people of color are still not well represented in leadership positions in our institutions in general — in our government, police force, businesses and schools.
5. If elected/re-elected, what would you do to foster inclusion and equity in Edwardsville?
–I would work with the Human Relations Commission that the City’s Racial Relations and Equity in Edwardsville Report has proposed to revive.
–I would work to have the City conduct a badly needed and overdue Housing Needs Assessment to ensure that we have decent housing that is affordable to people of all income levels.