Joyce Chapman, a longtime community activist who also served on Chicago’s Board of Education, has died.
Chapman was a lifelong Chicagoan who spent decades working as a community leader in numerous roles, including as the founder and president of the Pullman Community Development Corporation.
Mayor Brandon Johnson said he was “saddened” to hear of her passing, saying she “never stopped giving back to the city she loved.”
“As an organizer on the Far South Side, she worked tirelessly to unite her community and to bring all people together,” Johnson said in a statement. “From founding the Pullman Community Development Corporation and serving as chairwoman of the Far South Community Action Council, to serving our CPS families as a member of the Board of Education, Joyce’s impact reverberates throughout every corner of our city.”
Chapman had served as vice chair of the Neighborhood Housing Services Board and president of the Gately Park Advisory Council. For 10 years, Chapman also served as beat facilitator in the Chicago Police Department’s 5th District.
Newly confirmed Chicago police Superintendent Larry Snelling called Chapman “one of our best community leaders” and a “pillar of the South Side.”
“It didn’t matter where they were from, what they had done in their past, Joyce Chapman embraced everyone,” Snelling said, saying that when she organized an event, attendees knew they would have fun and would be safe. “She was a beautiful human being that brought beauty to this city.”
Chapman was appointed to the Board of Education last year by then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said she selected Chapman due to her “commitment and dedication to improving life outcomes and opportunities for our young people and communities.”
She and the rest of the board appointed under Lightfoot resigned following Johnson’s election as mayor earlier this year.
“Chicago will miss her fighting spirit and her public service,” Johnson said. “I pray for her family during this trying time and send my deepest condolences to her friends, colleagues and loved ones.”
Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez said Chapman’s “civic leadership in these volunteer roles inspired many to speak up and improve our system, especially for our most vulnerable students.”
“Her courage, candor, and passion will be deeply missed,” Martinez said. “We will keep Ms. Chapman’s family, including her daughters, Ashanti, Umi, and Amina, and grandchildren, in our thoughts and prayers.”