A Black tech entrepreneur from Chicago is coming for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s spot. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Neal Sales-Griffin announced his mayoral bid on Saturday.
Before a crowd of nearly 200 people at the Shapiro Ballroom, Sales-Griffin delved into the most pressing issues facing the city and what inspired him to enter the race, the news outlet writes.
During his speech Sales-Griffin, 30, reflected on the experiences he encountered while coming of age in the city. He shared how many people in his family ended up relocating due to crime, violence, and barriers to education and employment. “I shouldn’t be running for mayor . . . and the reason I’m doing that is because I’m willing to put myself out there and talk about the things that people don’t want to talk about,” he said, according to the news outlet. He also added that the city’s declining population prompted him to get involved in politics so that he could implement policies to make it better.
Sales-Griffin, a native of the city’s South Side and a graduate of Northwestern University, is the CEO of CodeNow; a non-profit organization that promotes STEM education and teaches children how to code. His 2019 mayoral race contenders include Paul Vallas, who formerly served as the Chicago Public Schools CEO, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Garry McCarthy, a former Chicago Police Superintendent, activist Ja’Mal Green, Chicago Principals and Administrators Association President Troy LaRaviere, and business mogul Willie Wilson.
Sales-Griffin believes that being born and raised in Chicago puts him more in tune with the needs of its people. “Chicago afforded me some opportunities. Chicago also presented a lot of struggles for me ….crunched up in this apartment, not always having the space we needed, not always having the money we needed, not always having food on the table like we needed it,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “So many other people have experienced far worse than I ever did, and that’s the stuff I think about every day. That’s why I’m sprinting toward this.”
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