Essence McDowell – Lifting As They Climbed

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1 min read

To celebrate Black History Month, we had the honor of speaking with Essence McDowell, co-author of “Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago’s South Side.” Powerful figures like Ida B. Wells-Barnett left behind an inspiring legacy that the book brings to life.


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Sameena Mustafa is a native Chicagoan who was inspired to run for office after the 2016 election. Endorsed by the Justice Democrats, she ran a 100% grassroots-funded campaign as a first-time candidate for U.S. Congress in IL’s 5th District. She was the only Asian and Muslim woman running at the federal level in Illinois in 2018. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has 25 years of experience in the business, nonprofit and arts sectors, including managing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, advising nonprofits and small businesses as a commercial real estate tenant advocate, and starting a diverse political comedy collective and training program for women of color. She currently serves on the advisory boards of State Matters and Chicago Women’s Health Center and the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters Chicago.

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