Women of Color Candidate Forum for Illinois

E3 Radio presents the 2018 Women of Color Candidate Forum for Illinois in partnership with Morten Group, LLC, Reunion Chicago, Equality Illinois and Chicago NOW PAC.


Join us on International Women’s Day as we hear from first time women of color candidates who have stepped up to run for elected office.


Gaylon Alcaraz, Candidate for Cook County Commisioner, 4th District; http://www.gaylon2018.com

Maria Hadden, Candidate for 49th ward alderman; http://www.mariafor49.org

Delia Ramirez, Candidate for St Rep, 4th district; http://deliaforstaterep.com

Charise Williams, 3rd District Cook County Commissioner, http://www.chariseforcommissioner.com

Sameena Mustafa, U.S Congress in IL-05, http://www.sameenaforcongress.com


We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!


and then learn more about the candidates below (listed in alpha order)


Galyon Alacraz

Gaylon B. Alcaraz is an activist, organizer and champion of human rights. As the past Executive Director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, she worked within the reproductive justice/rights/health movement to advocate for low-income women seeking to control their reproductive freedom. Among the many social justice accomplishments credited to Gaylon, she served as a founding board member of Affinity Community Services, a social justice organization that advocates for the rights of black lesbian and bisexual women in the Chicago land area. During her board tenure at Affinity, she assumed increased leadership roles, across all areas of the organization’s functions including the role of Vice-President of the board, prior to the end of her final board service. She is also a past board member of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and the Midwest Access Project.

For more than twenty years, she has worked on behalf of sexual minority women, anti-violence, gender equity, health prevention, reproductive rights, as well as race and culture issues. Gaylon has consistently applied her knowledge in practice towards quality improvement, increased access, and by challenging frameworks that do not allow for the exploration of diversity across multiple dimensions when working with, and on behalf of diverse constituencies. These passionate beliefs have led her to advocate on behalf of all women and children.


Maria Hadden

Maria Hadden is running for Alderwoman of the 49th ward. Once elected, Maria will be the first Black Alderman on the northside of the city as well as the first openly gay women of color on Chicago’s City Council.  Currently, Maria is the Executive Director of Our City Our Voice, a nonprofit a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to support civic engagement processes for transformative social justice. Maria serves on the board of directors for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and Voqal. She lives with her partner and their two dogs in Chicago, IL.



Sameena Mustafa

Sameena Mustafa is a native Chicagoan and 30 year resident of the 5th District. The daughter of Indian Muslim immigrant parents who worked for the City of Chicago, Sameena graduated from Northwestern University and managed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago Austin neighborhood before working in commercial real estate as a tenant advocate for nonprofits and small businesses that serve immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ, and sexual assault survivors.
Sameena is an “unapologetic Progressive Democrat” that supports Medicare for All, a woman’s right to choose, living wage, equal pay, and getting big money out of politics. She is not accepting donations from corporate PACs. If elected, she would be the first woman and independent Democrat to represent the residents of the 5th District and will bring bold, progressive, and inclusive leadership to Washington.


Delia Ramirez

Delia Ramirez is an accomplished social service director, community leader and coalition builder who has dedicated much of her life and career to the Humboldt Park and Logan Square communities.

Up until December 2017, Delia served as Deputy Director of the Community Renewal Society, Chicago’s oldest faith-based social justice organization, where she oversaw the development, organizing and policy units.  She is now full time on the campaign trail.

A daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, Delia resides on the same block where she grew up – Central Park Avenue between North and Bloomingdale in Humboldt Park. A graduate of Sabin Magnet Elementary school in the eastern part of the district and Northeastern University Delia recognizes the importance of public education and is committed to fighting for high quality, equitable education for all children.

In 2004, at only 21 years old, Delia became the Executive Director of Humboldt Park Social Services, now the Center for Changing Lives. During her tenure, Delia helped thousands of neighborhood families obtain housing stability through financial counseling and direct job placement. She also built the agency from a staff of six (and a budget of $189,000) in 2004 to a staff of 18 (and a budget of $1.2 million) by 2013. Today CCL is a city wide organization nationally recognized for its innovative work.

An Emerging Fellow of The Chicago Community in 2013, Delia has been a leader in neighborhood and city-wide coalitions for balanced neighborhood development, an elected representative school board, the Fight for 15, Automatic Voter Registration, a recipient in 2007 of 35 under 35 leadership award and La Raza Community Leader award in 2013- just to name a few of her accomplishments.

She has served as the board president of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, District Advisory Chair of the 14th District Police Department, Co-founder of the Chicago Justice for our Neighbors Free Immigration Clinic and currently the President of LUCHA, a community development and affordable housing organization in the district.


Charise Williams

Charise Williams is a compassionate community advocate with an exemplary record of servicing the community and working in partnership with elected officials and community stakeholders to deliver vital resources.

Professionally, Charise is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civic Engagement, for the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, tasked with developing a diversity of external partnerships and communities across the state. She has extensive experience in working and advocating within urban communities; and is inspired every day to be a voice for those who do not have a seat at the table.

As a working mother and a lifelong Chicago resident, Charise has a keen sensitivity to the adverse effects that regressive taxes have on middle class families and seniors on fixed incomes. Therefore, she is committed to implementing innovative operational systems and new technology designed to conserve resources and strengthen efficiencies, while identifying new revenue streams. As a reformist and independent voice of the people, Charise plans to audit all County policies to ensure that fraudulent practices are eliminated and trust in government is restored.

Charise Williams has earned endorsements from: former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, State Senator Toi Hutchinson, State Representative Art Turner, Assistant Majority Leader State Representative Will Davis, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Alderman Carrie Austin of the 34th Ward, Alderman Pat Dowell of the 3rd Ward, Alderman Derrick Curtis of the 18th Ward, and City Clerk Anna Valencia.

The Partners




Women of Color Candidate Forum for Illinois

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