We are thrilled to welcome UWF Member Kennedy Bartley to the UWF staff as our new Legislative Coordinator! Kennedy will be working with UWF elected officials to ensure that they have the support they need to govern for the many.
Get to know Kennedy in her own words below:
I credit a few standout experiences in my life as being the politicizing moments that, in culmination, led to who I am and what I fight for today—the incarceration of my father, transferring from Loyola Academy to my neighborhood public school where the U.S. military had its own office, the murder of my 14 year old cousin, and the murders of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner. These moments made clear to me that every decision I was to make subsequently, would fully be in honor of their affects on me.
While at DePaul University, I studied Public Policy, African Diaspora Studies, and Geographic Information Systems. During this time, I facilitated restorative justice classes in CPS for 3 years and organized in the wake of the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the heightened police violence and crimes by CPD. Despite my distrust of electoral politics at the time, I recognized the power that taking up that space provided for myself and working class, Black, and Brown folks. I spent my final year working in Alderman Pawar’s office and doing independent studies on the Criminalization of Mental Health, and on School Choice in the Englewood and West Englewood community areas.
A few months post-grad, I began interning with SEIU Local 1 and shortly thereafter became a full-time Strategic Researcher. While at Local 1, I developed tactical campaign strategies to fight for worker justice and comprehensive corporate reform. I was elected to the Local’s Black Caucus Executive Board and sat on the Racial Justice and Environmental Justice committees—working to illustrate the importance of the intersections of economic, racial, and environmental justice for working class people. During this time I struggled to remain hopeful that a space existed for a young, Black woman with politics that truly centered the “least of these”. Luckily at this time, I began meeting with Stacy Davis Gates who introduced me to United Working Families, the organization that immediately felt like a political home. UWF recognizes that there are many ways to liberate and lift up Black, Brown, and working class communities, and operates within the political sphere, centering these communities; UWF takes power to give power, a place that is truly #ForTheMany.
I also feel it necessary to credit my mother, step-father, and maternal grandparents who taught me the importance of compassion and resilience that I hope to bring to this role!