About the Candidate
Name: Joseph G. “Joe” Williams
DOB: July 6, 1989
Family: I have a wife, Jasmine, along with 5 beautiful children - 4 girls and 1 boy. Their names are Janiyah, Samiya, Naomi, Serenity, and Joseph, Jr.
Occupation: Founder and CEO of Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club. I am also a former Cease Fire violence interrupter.
Political Experience: I currently serve on the Local School Council of Beasley Academic Center. I also chair the school Parent Advisory Council. I have volunteered and worked on the 2008 election and re-election campaign for President Obama, as well as the 2016 campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney and for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s campaigns. I am a member of Democracy for America, Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization, and the ManKind Project.
My name is Joseph Williams, and I am a husband, a father, and a non-profit director who has chosen to run for alderman because it's time to change the narrative of the 15th Ward.
For too long we have accepted the story of ourselves as told to us by outsiders. They tell our children that their education and even their lives don't matter, when they continue to close our schools and hospitals. And then turn around and invest millions to train police officers to come into our communities and turn our children into the criminals they always told us we would become.
I know these stories because I've starred in these stories. I have walked my children past abandoned schools, and have dried their tears when gunshots rang out less than a block away from them. I, too, am one of every three black men who has been involved in the criminal justice system. This is a part of my past I have never been shy about. And while I am not proud of my sins, I am proud of my redemption. I took that experience and became a violence interrupter - an effective intervention that encourages our youth to walk a path of peace, and not violence by relating to them through my mistakes. Through this experience, I have learned that there are some things that we can only understand because we've lived through them
My story is not unique - so many of my neighbors could tell you the same one, but it is exactly this that makes me a unique choice for alderman. I have a level of empathy and motivation to improve the lives of my 15th Ward community that cannot be touched by any other politician, because this is our story, and I look forward to writing a new chapter together with you.
What is your vision for this office?
My vision is to empower residents in the 15th Ward by providing the resources to promote workforce readiness and the trades, entrepreneurship and innovation, opportunities for formerly incarcerated people, and access to fair and affordable housing for black and brown communities. I will also push to bring back much-needed mental health facilities and put an end to school closures in the 15th Ward.
What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?
Three major issues the constituents of the 15th ward care are violence/crime, access to affordable housing, as well as mental health services.
Violence – In order to address violence, I plan to invest funds into violence prevention programs that are affective, on-the-ground solutions. I will specifically budget for a violence prevention interrupter working out of my Aldermanic office.
Additionally, I believe that by investing in young people through job creation, we will see a significant drop in crime. I also plan to start an initiative focused on second chance opportunities for area residents.
Housing- To address housing crisis in the 15th Ward, I plan to bring more cooperative housing opportunities to the area. Additionally, I will work with residents to identify property that they may pursue for residence at a reduced cost. We all must work together to improve the access to affordable, quality housing for all communities.
Mental Health- Currently, the 15th Ward is in dire straits when it comes to accessing mental health services. All facilities that were formerly utilized for mental healthcare have long been shuttered. Part of my agenda will involve repurposing a formerly closed school to reopen it as a mental health services facility.