Women Leading by Example: Q&A with Alderman Stephanie D. Coleman
When I was given the task of highlighting a person who embodies the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I recalled meeting Chicago Alderman Stephanie D. Coleman. On January 14, 2020, I attended a town hall where Englewood's five aldermen gathered for the first time to begin a series of conversations to address the need for change in the community.
Like Dr. King–who was inspired by his father to pursue ministry at a young age–Coleman followed in the footsteps of her mother, former Alderman, Shirley Coleman by becoming the youngest member of the Chicago City Council in 2019. As a lifelong resident of Chicago's 16th ward, and Founder of Sons and Daughters of Englewood (S.A.D.E.), Coleman leads with three core values in mind: diligence, education, service.
Her mission to create sustainable change in Englewood and beyond starts with mentorship, building strong leaders, and addressing issues concerning young adults. The first step in her mission to lead by example starts with one simple reminder, "With hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything in life to make a difference in the community," says Coleman. Her dedication to her community continues through outreach and other efforts that can be found by visiting www.16thward.org.
Read more of my conversation with Alderwoman Coleman after the 2020 town hall below:
MONIQUE: After hearing from your residents, what is first on the agenda for you?
ALDERMAN COLEMAN: Prioritizing job opportunities in trades in the private sector and establishing a city service resource facility in the Englewood/Southside portion of the City. Accessibility to resources creates stability for the community.
M: There were a lot of comments and questions regarding funding or frustrations around business development for black entrepreneurs. What would you like your residents to know about the efforts your office is making to improve economic opportunity? AC: We are fully launching and initiating all efforts as it relates to community development, housing, economic development, and the like, I want residents to understand that we are a hub. We must start thinking about the community as a hub where we not only live in it, we work in it, we maintain it, we honor it, and grow it.
M: What was your first thought at the conclusion of the town
hall on Tuesday, January 14th? or What was your takeaway from what you heard from the residents? AC: YES! The conversation is here, it's alive, and it has a face. The community is united for its turn, it’s time, it’s unified to have a voice to ensure that Englewood is part of the conversation and is primed for everything that’s owed to it. It’s our time for our fair share of quality businesses, housing, development, and entrepreneurship. No other community has been able to gather over 600 residents, residents that actually live in the community, to speak about what matters to them and play the role in directing their vision.