Community organizer Jenn Carillo said she wants more than to have people at the table listen to her. She wants a seat at the table.
Carrillo announced outside the McLean County Museum of History she is running for alderman in Ward 6 in April 2019.
During her kickoff Carillo said she doesn't want to rattle off a series of campaign promises; she wants to find out what matters to residents.
"The solutions we need to the problems we face live in the brilliant minds of the youth who live at Sunnyside, or the elders found sitting in the pews of Wayman AME Church every Sunday morning, of the struggling single mothers who ride the lime line down Market Street, of the local business owners who are the heart of our downtown," said Carrillo.
Carrillo has been involved in immigration rights, Black Lives Matter, anti-fracking legislation, and anti-payday loan initiatives, among other issues. She said she wants to broaden her service to the city.
Carrillo said even if she loses she will win.
"Sometimes the process is more important than the outcome because in fighting back, we are always winning. When we refuse to acquiesce in the face of challenge we are winning. When we come together in the spirit of community to stand up for what we believe in, we are winning," said Carrillo.
About 60 people joined her for the announcement in downtown Bloomington. As part of her speech, Carillo quoted her mother who told Carrillo when she asked whether she should run, "whatever you are capable of, begin it." Her father's words, Carrillo said, were "cuando luchamos, ganamos," or "when we fight, we win."
Carrillo immigrated as a child. She said she is the first in her family to gain a college degree, graduating summa cum laude from Illinois State University as a Bone Scholar. She works for the YWCA McLean County.
Ward 6, which includes parts of downtown and the city's west side, is currently represented by Alderman Karen Schmidt. Schmidt said she'll decide by mid-summer at the earliest whether she'll seek re-election.
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