Andre Smith for 20th Ward Alderman

Bio

image313

Andre Smith made his first bid for Alderman of the 20th Ward in 2010. He saw a Black community struggling to recover from a deep recession. Englewood, Back-of-the-Yards, Woodlawn and other low-income areas with Black residents were battling the highest foreclosures in history.  Andre saw this as a chance to give the people in the community a voice and an opportunity for recovery. He ran again in 2014. Refusing to give up, and now with several years of community activism under his belt, Andre is determined to take a seat on the city council to help Englewood residents. 


Andre grew up on the South Side of Chicago. He was born on May 1, 1968, at Woodlawn Hospital and came from humble beginnings. He is the son of Fred and Marion Smith and is one of six children. Growing up in the Smith household, his family's strong values kept him steady and on-course. These values included a belief in the importance of education. Andre fully understands the benefits of higher education and learning a trade can lead to a successful entrepreneurial career as a business owner. Standing up for equal justice runs deeps in Smith’s DNA. His great-grandmother, the late Carrie Williams was the first African American teacher in U.S. history to sue the Board of Education and win Equal Rights for Black people in 1864.


During his time growing up in Woodlawn, Englewood, and CHA's Robert Taylor homes where gangs and drug activities plagued the community continuously, Andre would walk to school challenged by crime around him. He remained focused and always relied on his parents’ wisdom and guidance to survive. In 2012, Smith created the organization Chicago Against Violence helping put an end to violence in Chicago and other Urban inner cities. 


EDUCATION 

-DuSable High School (1987)

-Job Corps (1988; Welding Certification)

-College of Oceaneering (1989; Wilmington, CA; Underwater Cutting Accreditation)

~East-West University (1990)

~Cain’s Barber College (1990)

~Moody Bible Institute (1998; Theological Studies)

~U.S. Senator Roland Burris School of Politics (2012)


ACHIEVEMENTS 

Andre overcame many obstacles and barriers while achieving numerous milestones and earning awards both personally and professionally.


Winning the Ambassador for Peace Award 2012:  Andre Smith was presented this award at the American Clergy Leadership Conference. 


Becoming a Business Owner:  As an entrepreneur, Andre has owned several businesses throughout the Southside. Economic development is one of his passions to empower others to become small business owners within their backyard.  

“The 20th Ward has several major thoroughfares including State Street, Cottage Grove, King Drive, Garfield Boulevard, and 63rd Street. The viability of nurturing and soliciting new business is important to building economic development in our ward. We must consider how to utilize TIF monies, so the entire community can benefit and not just one segment.” ~Andre Smith


Challenging Slum Landlords: In the Woodlawn community, Andre has led the fight to challenge slum landlords who did not maintain tenant properties. Alongside the grassroots organization STOP, Andre fought for upgrades to the tenants’ units.  Andre has fought actively for tenants rights and won. 


Stopping School Closings: Smith fought against school closings on the South Side of Chicago which resulted in the least one school remaining open from that protest.


Advocating for a Southside Trauma Center: As a familiar face on the scene fighting for the voiceless, Andre along with other activists brought their demands to the forefront advocating for the past seven years for a trauma center on the near Southside  The University of Chicago adult Trauma Center opened its doors in April 2018.


Repealing the Beverage Tax: In 2017, Andre played a role in getting Cook County's beverage tax repealed by speaking at community forums, at county board meetings and creating a song which aired on Chicago radio talk shows. 


Fighting Against Gun Violence: Andre continues to work within our Southside communities, making a stance against gun violence.


GOALS

· More mental health and wellness facilities

· An elected school board

· Affordable and fair housing for low-income residents. 

· Workforce training programs enabling employment for residents. 

· Additional tax breaks for homeowners and seniors. 

· Tax incentives for new businesses brought to the 20th Ward with focus on small businesses. 

· Additional school funding for STEAM.

· Renovation of abandoned CPS schools and creation of state-of-the-art youth and innovation centers. 

· Private and public funding for a robotics manufacturing facility that also provides training for special certification to enable residents to gain long-term employment.

Andre understands that putting a solid plan in place is only successful by listening to the needs of constituents in the 20th Ward. As our next alderman, Andre is committed to working with groups in the ward with a shared mission to build access and the same amenities as our Northside neighbors. He cannot accomplish this alone but as a community—together we win. 

We Did It!

image314

We made the ballot! Thanks to all who took the time to circulate and sign petitions.