Community organizer Jennifer Carrillo announced her campaign for the Bloomington City Council position to represent Ward 6, which covers the western side of the city, this month.
Carrillo said her mission is to push for Bloomington to become a safe-haven for undocumented immigrants.
“I don’t like bullies,” Carrillo said. “Unfortunately that is a basis we have in society.”
Carrillo migrated to the United States from Mexico City, the birthplace of her parents, at age 10 with her father, mother and sister.
“I had to struggle with a new culture and language in a system that doesn’t try to help you. Immigration issues hit close to home,” she said.
Carrillo’s family has been a vital part of her journey as she would discuss her conflicts with them often, including not being qualified for certain things and her self-doubt.
Her anxiety was so great that at times she could not retain her mother’s words of wisdom, until she received a note in Spanish from her mother that read: Whatever you’re capable of, do it.
Her work at the YWCA involves advocating for women, the LGBTQ community, immigration rights, racial and other social justice issues.
In 2006, a 16-year-old Carrillo participated in a march against mass immigration reforms.
Before entering her position as Mission Impact Director for YWCA, Carrillo served as the Immigrant Rights Organizer for Illinois People’s Action.
“[At the YWCA] we would interact with and ask the city council for votes. Eventually I realized I could get out and advocate myself,” Carrillo said.
“We shouldn’t have to keep fighting for our seat at the table, we should run the table.”
However, Carrillo does not consider herself an activist, as she has been labeled in the past. She believes activists are motivated people but seem to jump on issues based on popularity.
To her, community organizer is a term better suited for individuals like herself, who are professionally trained to gain support and make a difference.
“That is what City Council should be about,” she said. “The amount of progressives I’ve seen in my experience so far is amazing. We can do it.”
Carrillo strongly believes a united people can get a lot done.
“This is 100% a people’s campaign. We don’t have a lot of money or resources, but what we do have is people power,” Carillo said.
Anyone interested in supporting Carrillo’s campaign can visit jennforward6.com or follow her Twitter page @JennForward6.