Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-05-22
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



ELECTIONS 2019, MAYOR. Amara Enyia on innovation and equity for Chicago
by Angelique Smith

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"What I would want 40 years from now is for 2019 to be a watershed moment in the city where anything was possible, where we actually valued ideas over personalities, where we actually looked to solve problems not just to get elected, and where this culture of fear is destroyed, because fear keeps us in a state of mediocrity."—Dr. Amara Enyia

A marathoner fluent in several languages, Amara Enyia—a progressive candidate running for mayor of Chicago—has worked in both the private sector and within grassroots organizations. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she also holds a Ph.D. in education policy and a law degree with a focus on international and environmental law, among various other degrees.

Windy City Times: What would be the top issues you'd focus on if elected?

Dr. Amara Enyia: I've been very intentional about acknowledging the fact that we have to focus on several key issues in Chicago at the same time because of the nature of the challenges that we face. So, the top issues I would focus on would be one, the city's fiscal health and economy; two, education; three, public safety—and by public safety, that's police accountability, that's violence, it encompasses all of those things. Four, issues of housing and affordability. When we talk about affordability in the city, I include issues around gentrification and displacement.

WCT: Backing up to education, what are your thoughts on mandatory LGBTQ-inclusive education in Chicago public schools?

AE: At the state level, I believe there was legislation mandating African American history in the curriculum—the issue was it wasn't being done and I imagine the same challenges might arise in this case. Including it into the curriculum is fine; I think people should be exposed to the history and the culture, both historical and contemporary. But there also has to be some mechanism to make sure that it actually happens in our schools.

WCT: What is your vision for the LGBTQ community in Chicago? And what do you think is the biggest problem facing the community?

AE: In my personal experience, even within the LGBTQ community, there are voices that are still marginalized. I live on the west side of Chicago, and I recall when several Black trans women were being killed—are still being killed—and their stories do not get heard. I was part of a press conference a group of organizations held at police headquarters down on 35th Street late last year trying to raise awareness of what is happening to transwomen of color in particular. It's relevant to me because it's one of the things I've been involved with and heard of the last several years. There's the notion that just because there's Boystown that, somehow, all of the spaces [there] are, just by their very nature, inclusive and welcoming. And that's not the case.

WCT: And your vision?

AE: Being more open to listening to the voices of the marginalized within marginalized groups. Those voices don't get the attention that they need in order to address the issues that are unique to them. And part of that means accountability from those spaces that are supposed to be safe spaces. The other issue that is important to me is our young people, especially queer youth of color. We talk about homelessness in Chicago and so many are homeless or couch surfing from being kicked out of their homes. We have to make sure that they have safe places to stay, access to the medical and public health care that they need, and that they have safety nets in their schools.

WCT: What do you think is missing from coverage you've seen of yourself? What do you want voters to know that they might not know already?

AE: Well, I think, for me, it's the way that I'm covered. I hate to say, it's so typical. It really is. There are always these questions about experience, and I probably have the broadest experience of any candidate that's running. [I've] worked in government, I've been an executive running a non-profit, I've worked in the private sector, I've worked internationally, extensively, on public policy issues. And at my core, I've always been an organizer; that undergirds all of my professional work.

I'm probably the only candidate that can speak fluently on any area of policy from pension to housing to social security to environmental justice because I've worked in all those spaces. I've been criticized by people who actually support me because I rarely talk about my credentials, my educational background, because it's just never been something I talk about. A lot of my credentials and qualifications are questioned and I'm asked questions that you'd never ask a lot of these individuals that are already in office and have done far less.

WCT: You've said in the past that the problem with leadership in the city is the lack of vision. How do you plan to work within the current political machine, or does it need to be completely reimagined? And what pushback do you anticipate from that?

AE: I definitely think it needs to be reimagined. Whatever iteration of machine we have has led us to where we are today and all of the challenges that we're dealing with. It has clearly not worked. Chicagoans of all walks of life—rich, poor, every ethnicity—are saying they want something different; they need something different, that the status quo has not worked for the city. The only way to get something different is to do something different. We need a different kind of leadership that actually has a vision of what Chicago can be.

WCT: Which is?

AE: For me, that is a vision of a city that is governed by values of equity. We need to recognize that our policies in the past have hurt some communities and residents, to the extent that we are experiencing significant population loss, to the extent that communities are dying on the vine due to the lack of economic investment. These are circumstances that were brought to us by the current class of leadership and they're all tied to the establishment … or the machine, or whatever the label is.

WCT: People are afraid of change. Even when it might benefit them.

AE: And Chicagoans deserve better. A vision for Chicago is also a vision of innovation. There are so many ideas and solutions that our campaign has set forth that creates the kind of city that we need. We're not just poking around at the edges of the pension crisis or the revenue crisis—we're pushing a public bank for the city because we know that would be transformative in how the city operates, whether with infrastructure projects or being able to expand our small business sector by issuing low interest loans. We talk about the cooperative economy and how we can actually build generational wealth if we only move down the road of creating worker-owned cooperatives across the city. We talk about different models of land ownership, community land trusts to protect affordability so people aren't getting displaced. These are the innovative ideas that are the hallmark of our vision and our platform and they're all doable.

WCT: Chicago can be very much "this is the way that it's always been done and the way it has to be."

AE: Other cities are doing them but Chicago has not done any of these things because we're so mired in the Chicago way. That has been to our detriment, and what we're pushing is justice and innovation. "Justice" to address our failings in education and the economy that have created the disparities that we're seeing today. "Innovation" because these are fresh, bold ideas that can be truly transformative and, if implemented, can put this city on the right course for the next several generations.

To learn more about Enyia's platform, visit: .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Rights orgs slam federal LGBT healthcare rollbacks 2019-05-24 - Numerous LGBT- and progressive-rights organizations came out against a Trump administration proposal to change the Affordable Care Act ( ACA ) such that ...

Gay News

Eddie Izzard works Wunderbar in Chicago 2019-05-24 - Eddie Izzard has built a career on simply being his authentic self in life, comedy and politics. His West End debut came in ...

Gay News

Trump-Pence admin targets LGBTQ non-discrimination healthcare protections 2019-05-24 - From Human Rights Campaign: WASHINGTON— Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Commends DCCC Cancelling Lipinski Fundraiser 2019-05-23 - WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the following statement following news that Congresswoman Bustos and the DCCC cancelled a fundraiser for anti-abortion, ...

Gay News

LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill Advances to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker 2019-05-23 - SPRINGFIELD — A significant legislative measure to ensure students in Illinois public schools would learn about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Military items, trans murders, Southern trans report 2019-05-22 - Sgt. 1st Class Janina Simmons became the first female African-American soldier to complete the U.S. Army Ranger School course in April, reported. ...

Gay News

2019 Pride Month Calendar 2019-05-21 - JUNE ( various dates, to be announced ) - CENTER ON HALSTED - During Pride Month, the Center will feature a variety of ...

Gay News

Pete Buttigieg and homelessness: Advocate on slow South Bend response 2019-05-21 - Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg cites the revitalization of South Bend, Indiana, which he largely stewarded, as a prime reason he should be elected ...

Gay News

Emanuel, Cappleman celebrate Broadway Streetscape Project project 2019-05-21 - As one of his last official acts, now-former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Ald. James Cappleman ( 46th Ward ) and the Chicago ...

Gay News

Legislation to advance equity for LGBTQ older adults advances to Gov. Pritzker 2019-05-21 - SPRINGFIELD - Legislation to advance equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) older adults has passed the Illinois General ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.