Amara Enyia, also known as “The Municipal Maven,” is known for her community work in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Through her company, Ace Municipal Partners, she works with mayors of surrounding counties and cities to work toward rectifying issues like unemployment, and lack of education and resources, which contribute to high crime rates and poverty.
“I’ve always had a mindset of going where the work is. I feel like I have a responsibility and I need to be however I can be useful and helpful,” she tells HelloBeautiful. “So, the idea of starting a municipal consulting firm working with those cities, those mayors and city managers that are dealing with those sorts of issues and being able to leverage whatever resources and knowledge I have to do was why I started the company.”
Enyia made headlines last year when she announced her plan to challenge Rahm Emanuel in 2015, in an attempt to become Chicago’s next mayor. Stating the obvious, she’s aware of her race and sex but she’s also not the easily intimidated kind.
“Doubters would say she’s young, she’s Black she’s a woman, she’s not independently wealthy, all these reasons that we list for someone not being able to do something. But the bigger question is, “Why not me?” she says. “I have not, to this day, gotten a satisfactory response to that question. Why am I not the person who can take the city in another direction.”
Enyia inherited her warrior spirit from her parents, whom she says were very intentional about instilling a certain set of values and integrity in their children, based on their own experiences in Nigeria’s civil war in the 1960s, and then against dictators Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha in the 1980s. Her dad as a soldier, and her mom a frontline nurse.
“When my dad enlisted in our civil war, he was 21 at the time, and this is when I always tell people who say, ‘You’re too young, wait a few years.’ He said that when the genocide was talking place in our country, it wasn’t the fact that the Igbo people were being killed, it was the fact that there was injustice taking place,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who it is. He said himself, ‘I just can’t stand oppression,’ and so it was that principle of standing up for the poor, standing up for those that are being marginalized, standing up for the principles of equity that influenced him.”
Enyia’s parents continued their work as activists even when they immigrated to the United States, and now she feels it’s her turn to be just as courageous in the pursuit of a better Chicago.
“I accepted that my life is not about me and it’s not for me. Whatever I have, whatever I’ve been given is supposed to be for the purpose of improving the lives of other people,” she says. “People’s lives and livelihood depend on those of us who have been equipped to take our rightful places in making society better in whatever way that looks like. So, for me, the bigger tragedy would be having been given the resources, the knowledge, the skill sets, the gift and to not maximizing what I’ve been given for the purpose of improving the lives of others in society. That’s a tragedy that I cannot bear, me not living in my purpose.”
GET INVOLVED: Sign up as a volunteer with the Amara For Chicago team at amaraforchicago.com and if you live in Chicago, vote!
FOLLOW AMARA ENYIA ON TWITTER: @MunicipalMaven
Pramila Javapal has been an award-winning leading advocate for immigrant, civil and human rights for over 20 years. She was born and raised in India, Indonesia, and Singapore but migrated to the United States for college.
She is the founder of OneAmerica, where she served as Executive Director for almost eleven years. Under her direction, OneAmerica became known for its successful efforts to fight discrimination immigrants, advocate for immigration reform, to advance pro-immigrant policies and programs in Washington State, and building strong coalitions that support its mission.
One of Jayapal’s many career highlights includes working with pro bono attorneys and leading a successful effort to file a nationwide class action lawsuit against the Federal government to prevent the deportation of 5,000 Somalis across the country.
She stepped down from OneAmerica in May 2012, to focus more on national issues and campaigns and to write more. She a published author, with a book and several articles and essays in numerous magazines, newspapers and websites, and a regular teacher of writing workshops on writing and social change.
Her next undertaking is running for the 37th Legislative District Senate seat being vacated by Adam Kline.
GET INVOLVED: Visit www.facebook.com/pramila.jayapal for more information on her senate campaign.
FOLLOW PRAMILA JAYAPAL ON TWITTER: @PramilaJ
HEATHER MCTEER TONEY
Heather McTeer Toney was appointed by President Barack Obama, as Regional Administrator for EPA’s Southeast Region in January 2014. Her work there keeps her focused on advancing the Administration’s priorities of protecting human health and the environment and when she isn’t on the nation’s clock, she spends her time focusing on health and wellness issues, and general empowerment for young women.
Toney is committed to service and a legacy of excellence, as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Prior to the EPA, this woman of the Mississippi Delta was the first African-American and first female to serve as Mayor of Greenville, MS (2004-2012).
She has appeared on news outlets like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-Span. She’s a published author in, Voices of Historical and Contemporary Black American Pioneers Vol. 2, and featured in the May 2005 issue of Essence magazine as one of the “50 Most Remarkable Women in the World,” as well as the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire magazine as the “Top Politician” in their annual “Women On Top” awards.
FOLLOW HEATHER MCTEER TONEY ON TWITTER: @HeatherMcTeer
See The Rest Of The List!
Also On HelloBeautiful:
100 Reasons Why I Can't Stop Looking At Blue Ivy
1. Mommy & Me
2. Blue. #May10 #NYC
3. Blue Ivy & Jay Z Sip Tea
Blue is surely the apple of Daddy's eye.
4. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Smell The Roses
Beyonce seems like the coolest mom.
5. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Soar The Big Skies
6. Blue Ivy & Mommy
7. Daddy & Me
Blue Ivy walks across mommy's at-home photoshoot, but it's the most adorable photobomb ever!
9. One Big Happy Family
The royal family, Bey, Jay & Blue are all out shopping and we're sure they spent our entire life's savings in 30 minutes or less.
10. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Beyonce in these heels though?!
11. Beyoncé & Blue in NYC — Nov. 4
Look at Blue in her adorable little bow!
12. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Blue holding on to mommy for dear life.
13. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Momma Bey looking fierce with her mini me in tow.
14. Blue dressed as Michael Jackson.
15. Blue & Ivy
Just look at that face. Seriously, Jay could never deny this child! She knows how to make all his mean mugs!
16. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Look at that cutie!
17. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
OMG Blue in a top knot? Yasss!
Blue has grown up to be an adorable toddler! We're swooning over this photo of her playing on the beach.
Looks like Blue is taking a walk in mom's shoes...literally.
20. Beyoncé & Blue
There's nothing like being cuddled up in mom's arms.
Blue is looking all kinds of adorable! Look at that left hand go! LOL.
22. Blue On The Big Screen
Bey & Jay look at Blue during a video played at an "On The Run" tour stop. How precious!
23. Pardon Blue's Back
She's growing up so fast! We're loving the top knot. Take that Blue Ivy hair critics!
24. Jump Around
Bey & Blue share an adorable moment on the trampoline. Hello summer!
25. Rocking Some Cute Ponytails
Blue Ivy was spotted with a new 'do! Bey & Jay's mini-me was holding on to her father during a little day stroll.
26. Strolling With Mom & Dad
Blue, Jay and Bey all spotted in East Hampton.
27. Blue Has A Manicure Day With Mama Bey
"Me and my Blue, and my Blue Blue, riding🐝"
28. Hanging Out With Mom
Baby Blue is walking to the door, and it looks like Bey is trying to keep up!
29. Trying On Some Heels
Will Blue be slaying a performance in the near future?
30. Holding On To Mom
Blue looks like she has something to say to Bey.
31. Playing A Game Of Tennis
Blue walks on the tennis court.
32. Cuddling With Mom
Blue & Beyonce have some much-needed cuddle time.
33. Blue Ivy
"The blueprint 🐝"
34. Bey & Blue Take A Stroll
Doesn't Blue look adorable with her colorful dress and cute hair ribbon?
35. The Carter Lounge Together
The family was seen out and about.
36. Jay Z Carries Blue While Bey Looks On
Jay carries Blue in his arms.
37. Leading The Way
Blue Ivy looks too cute with her bowler hat and Mama Bey watching from behind. She's really growing up!
38. Out On The Town
Blue Ivy & Momma Bey enjoy some much deserved time off in Spain.
39. Traveling With Mom and Dad
Blue is used to traveling with Mama Bey and Poppa Jay, but she also looked a little flustered at some moments. It's ok, baby Blue!
40. A Day At The Park
Poppa Jay Z lets Blue Ivy have her way with the bouncy horse.
41. It's A Family Affair
Beyonce, Jay and Blue jetsetting in Dublin.
Blue dressed up like a hipster and plays a quick game of peekaboo! How adorable!
43. OMG It's Blue's Beautiful Face!
FINALLY! We get to see how beautiful Blue is! Look at the adorable headband! "Blue 💙"
44. Blue Ivy
Life's a beach!
45. Brooklyn Stand Up!
"Beyonce & Blue"
46. Blue Ivy's Got Her Own iPhone
"Momma, what's your password?"
47. Beyonce's Lazy Day With Blue
"Momma, I asked you for your password!"
48. When Blue Ivy Takes Your Phone, Beyonce Be Like...
"Fine, I'll go ask Daddy!"
49. Blue Ivy On Tour
"Bey & Blue"
50. It's Playtime
Beyonce & Blue take some time out to play.
51. A Chilly Day In NYC
"Beyoncé, Jay Z and Blue Ivy in NYC - Jan. 19"
52. All Bundled Up
The royal family makes their way to their fancy car.
53. Kisses From Dad
Blue's all bundled up, getting love from Daddy.
54. Blue At The White House
Blue Ivy's taking after mommy and writing a letter.
55. Blue Loves Bo
The White House pup, Bo is showing Blue Ivy some love.
56. The Carters At The White House
Check out the royal family checking out the scene at the White House.
57. It's Christmas Time Again
Blue and Bey checking out the White House Christmas tree.
58. Blue Lovin' Bo
Blue Ivy, dressed like a Princess, showing Bo some love.
59. Like Father, Like Daughter
Blue playing dress up with Daddy's hat.
60. Fun Times With Mommy
Blue Ivy spends some QT with mommy.
61. Mommy & Me
Blue and Bey take a break for some snacks.
62. Silvery Blue
Beyonce carries Blue, while the adorable toddler rocks a metallic jacket that we want and need.
63. The Holy Grail
Blue, Bey & Jay
64. One Big Happy Family
"#miami #newyear #2014"
"Beyoncé & Blue 💙"
66. Blue & Daddy In A Blue Jacket
"Jay and Blue 💙 #NewYear #2014 #Miami"
67. Hold On To Me
"Happy New Year Mommy!"
68. Dora Dora Dora The Explorer
"Beyoncé, Blue and Dora the Explorer"
69. Daddy & Bey
"Look over there Blue, you own that too."
70. Blue's Big B-Day
"Mommy make sure they can only see the back of my head."
71. Painted Faces For Blue's Bday
"Let me get down Mommy, I wanna play!"
72. Kisses From Mommy
Beyonce and Blue prepping for Momma Tina's Masquerade Ball
73. Talk To The Hand!
Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy were spotted leaving Joey's restaurant in Miami, on January 8th, and Blue had a message for the paps! Talk to the hand!
74. Me & My Daddy
While Beyonce's arm rested, Jay carried Blue from Joey's restaurant, in Miami on January 8th.
75. Blue's First Words
"I'm ready to slay right along with you, Ma!"
76. Imagine The Sound Of This Lullaby
A newborn Blue Ivy gets serenaded by her superstar mother.
77. Don't Mess With Blue!
Every now and again, Blue Ivy reminds you...she is her father's child!
78. All Gold Everything
Blue Ivy takes after her dad's swag. The inseparable duo were spotted in South Beach, Miami illuminating the streets outside their hotel with their yellow luster!
79. All Of The Lights!
"Mommy! All the pretty colors are so blinding! I'm...just..so..overwhelmed! When's my shot coming?! When's my shot coming?!" Blue plays on set with Bey at her 'Blow' video shoot.
80. Hey Blue!
"I can be happy sometimes, see?"
81. Blue Ivy With Daddy
"Why are we clapping, again? I'm not in the shot."
82. Jay Z Tries To Get Blue To Listen To "Magna Carta Holy Grail"
"Daddy, I'm more of a Nas fan."
83. Stepping With Mom
"Wait, Ma. I want the camera to see all angles of this sick dress!"
84. Splashin' & Playin'
"Mom, this water is clean, right? Because I'm not trying to splash in water I can't trust."
85. Beyonce Discusses Important Matters
"Mommy, I completely get it. Yes, I promise to watch the throne."
86. Mommy's Hugs
"Ok, Ma. I love you to pieces, but I like oxygen too." Bey may be the Queen, but this scene from her video "Blue" makes it look as if she can't get enough of being Mom.
87. Blue Ivy Twirls
"Aaaahh, I'm having so much fun not thinking about anything...wiippeee...oh, wait...getting a little sick."
88. Just So You Know...
"I run things. Don't get it twisted."
89. Mommy & Me Loungin'
"Oh, Mommy, I'm so tired of seeing the wigs you snatched last night all on our floor. It's so exhausting. Like, when're they getting picked up? Not now? Oh. Ok."
90. A Kiss For Blue
"Mommy, let me sleep, dang!"
91. Slurpin' On That Milk...Slurpin' Slurpin' On That Milk
"Mommy, gimme that bottle!"
We could watch this adorable GIF of Blue Ivy nonstop forever!
93. Jay Sneaks In Kisses
"Dadddd! Get..Away!..I don't want...No, ugh..No kisses!"
94. Blue Stares Back...
"Hey! Who's that?!"
95. Blue Still Doesn't Get Why Anyone's Here
"No, really, who are you? You're getting to close."
96. Blue and Bey Out For Lunch
"I'm over this now. People just won't let us be. Mom, why can't we just be?!"
97. Blue Is One Tough Cookie
"Ma, please let me just kick them in the face. Like, please, I can't see through all these lights."
98. Blue Jetsets With Jay
"Dad, do we own this boat? I just figured we owned everything, so..."
99. Beyonce Keeps Blue Covered
"Mommy, I think you forgot my feet. I'm cold right now. Are we inside?"
100. Beyonce LOVES Her Blue
Look at that face, how could you not kiss it?!