First time candidate, Nicole Johnson, says her life changed Dec. 23, 2011, when she came in contact with open gunfire. That was the pivotal moment she realized Chicago’s 20thWard was under assault from violence, poverty and disinvestment. Since then, the 29-year-old has focused her time and talents on rebuilding the South Side Ward into a place residents can live, work and play.
A Chicago native, Johnson lives in Englewood, where she grew up. Along with her mother, they live in a two-flat building her grandmother owns. Her family is an example of three generations of women who are determined to see the working class community thrive again.
Johnson says she knows firsthand how two lives can go in different directions. She was admitted to Whitney Young High School while her childhood friend attended the neighborhood school. She went on to the University of Michigan while he got caught up in gang life.
The third grade math teacher’s life mantra is, “Lifting as I climb,” which is what Johnson has done throughout her professional career. She has worked at Teamwork Englewood as the data and communications manager; Chicago Votes as policy and program manager; selected as a peer adviser for the Obama Foundation’s inaugural Civic Engagement Training Day; serves on the Chicago Metro YMCA Associate Board and Academic Success Chair for the ASCEND mentoring program at Kenwood High School; and steered the execution of the “Parade to the Polls” with Chance the Rapper during the 2016 presidential Election.
In addition to a BA in Political Science, the educator has a MA in Teaching from National Louis University and a MS in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
“I’m running because we deserve better--exceptional schools, economic empowerment and safe communities,” says the 20thWard aldermanic candidate. “Our people are our greatest assets and with the right opportunities, we can all thrive.”