Hi, I'm Alex. I was raised by a single father in a city of the haves and have-nots, more commonly known as the District of Columbia, and have been a part of its story; family members with drug addictions, sky-high living costs, insufficient wages, racially-motivated treatment, policing, education, healthcare, and the list goes on.
I found my calling to organize against the forces of oppression through my personal experience with homelessness. My family, like many others, lost nearly everything in the 2008 financial crisis. I was forced to resign a hard-won seat at the University of London and return home to help my family. I was 20 years old, and the bright future I had fought for was suddenly in doubt. Unable to regain financial footing after years of struggle, and in the face of losing the one bedroom apartment my family shared, a Chicago friend took me in as a live-in house and pet sitter in 2013. This turn of events was life changing: it not only offered a solution to a terrifying problem, but pivoted the focus of my life. I was going to spend all my time fighting the system that creates poverty, homelessness, inequity, and inaccessibility in this society. It was during this time that I was given the space and safety to further my education through Harvard Distance Learning. I have since gone on to study organizing with Marshall Ganz at Harvard Kennedy. I became the Coordinator for Women's March Chicago, and currently serve as a National Organizing Specialist for the ACLU.
My career began simply—cooking meals for the Homeless Ministry of First United Methodist Church, and making friends with the people who came there. My first observation was that the work around systemic injustices is often disjointed; it either focuses on immediate needs or trying to change the laws for tomorrow. I found—and still find—this approach flawed: it isn’t holistic, it doesn’t create power, it doesn't come from the community, and no one issue exists in a silo. Far too commonly, these approaches tend to treat those struggling like political pawns, burdens, or paperwork to be processed. I have a proven track record in changing the way things are done!
I have helped people experiencing homelessness gain access to voting rights, fought to raise the minimum wage, renewed the commitment to abortion access, fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois and Virginia, fought racist policing, elected and held officials accountable, and more.
2F08 is a community my family has lived in for nearly 20 years, and I am dedicated to its success. Having sat on Public Safety for 2F for more than a year, I am dismayed by the lack of advocacy for our community. Civil rights and liberties were being violated on our door step without a strong voice to push back, our unhoused neighbors were being moved along to make way for developers without the level of protection they deserve from their representative. Our Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) sent no recommendations to the City Council regarding the budget during a time when mass eviction due to a global pandemic is bearing down on us. This will not stand.
I have had the pleasure of leading large groups of people, but never fail to be amazed at what a small, dedicated, kick ass team of people can accomplish. I have navigated many opaque business and governmental systems that keep people from breaking the cycle. I will fully engage the residents of 2F and make sure we build the people power to resolve our most pressing issues. The Council will know we are 2F strong!
See how Alex plans to represent and support you as advisory neighborhood commissioner.