Professionally, Sophia has been instrumental to opening doors of educational opportunity within her immediate, and greater Chicago community. Through her work at the Latin School of Chicago, she was driven to help found the Ariel Community Academy — established to provide North Kenwood-Oakland residents with the same quality education that her students at Latin received. Further, Sophia utilized her Master’s Degree in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University to diversify classes at the Latin School and promote Co-Curricular education at Chicago Public Schools. Sophia knows it’s time we had an educator in the mayor’s office who will make improving schools in every corner of the city a top priority.
Before going into public service, Sophia actively connected residents in her community to address some of the largest problems in the city. Whether fighting for youth programs as president of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council, advocating for women’s reproductive rights as vice president of Planned Parenthood Chicago, creating a community response to gun violence with The It’s Time Organization (TITO), or educating and empowering African American women and businesses with Harriet’s Daughters by advocating for more inclusion in city and state contracts, Sophia has skillfully brought people together and engaged them in productive dialog to address complex challenges. She has continued to use this talent during her tenure on the City Council.
As Alderman, representing parts of Downtown, the South Loop, Bronzeville (Douglas, North Kenwood, Oakland, Grand Blvd), Kenwood and Hyde Park, Alderman King has worked on the front lines on crime and public safety issues. Every community meeting she attends, every day she works with her two police commanders, every shooting incident – Sophia King sees firsthand that we can’t keep doing what we’re doing as murders, shootings, and carjackings continue to plague our city.
Sophia fought to both reform the Chicago Police Department and ensure they have the resources and personnel to better stop the violence which all too often breaks out in our communities. She rejects the one-dimensional calls to either arrest our way out of our public safety issues or defund the police. Chicagoans deserve a police force which is both responsive and accountable, dedicated to solving violent crimes and determined to work with the community. Sophia believes Chicago has broad enough shoulders to both support its police and hold them accountable. We can end the false choices and move forward into a safer Chicago together.
As Chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, Sophia led the fight for a $15 minimum wage in Chicago. King carried the measure through the City Council because every Chicagoan deserves a living wage. She knew that as prices at the gas station and grocery store continue to rise, many minimum wage workers simply get left behind. After her ordinance was passed 400,000 Chicagoans got a raise and 100,000 Chicagoans were lifted out of poverty. She also helped bring her colleagues and other stakeholders together to create the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. And led her caucus and the city council to usher in one of the most progressive budgets with resources for violence prevention, mental health and housing to name a few.
A consensus builder, Sophia King led the former Michael Reese Hospital site that sat vacant for decades into a national model for equitable development. Where real community benefits and real community input will create jobs, affordable housing and a development that will benefit Bronzeville residents. Unlike one-sided, developer-friendly megadeals, the Michael Reese Development brought business and the community to the table, making it a win for seniors and long-time residents. The Michael Reese development aspires to achieve 60% minority participation and a path for young people in the neighborhood to enter apprenticeship programs that won’t just help them earn a job, but build a good-paying career.
In addition, Sophia encouraged firms that do business in her ward to go above and beyond the city’s weak goals on minority hiring. While the citywide goals for minority participation in projects is now 26%, in Sophia’s ward minority participation often exceeds 40%. While others talk about making sure Black and Brown Chicagoans get equal opportunity at new jobs, Sophia makes it happen.
Sophia King believes every voice is important – and Chicagoans in every part of the city deserve the opportunity for a vibrant future. Sophia’s family came here in search of a better life and she wants to restore the promise that so many families feel is slipping away.
Now, Sophia King is running for mayor because we need a new direction and we deserve a safer, stronger Chicago. That starts with a Mayor like Sophia who listens thoughtfully and leads boldly.
- Working with the community to shut down problem businesses and buildings
- Created Safe Summer Initiative which extended Safe Passage through the summer and brought jobs to the community
- Successfully advocated for more resources from CPD to protect the community
- Established monthly public safety meetings with CPD, UCPD, CHA, and Detectives to better coordinate public safety
- Partnering with the community on a comprehensive approach to end gun violence
- Securing millions of dollars in additional resources and collaborating with stakeholders to improve neighborhood schools
- Expanding trade and apprenticeship opportunities at Dunbar High School with paid internship program
- Instituted inaugural 4th Ward enrichment program (featuring chess & soccer)
- New bridges at 31st, 35th, 39th, 41st, and 43rd streets
- New street lights, cameras, paved streets, sidewalks and sewers
- Allocated resources to improve public transportation, including new bus shelters, bus pads, and curb cuts
- Hosted job fairs serving over 200 residents
- Ensured responsible additions of affordable units in new developments
- Fought to improve participation of minority contractors
Community and Commercial Development
- Mariano’s, Culver’s, Bulldog Ale House, and Jolly Pumpkin
- Funding for first Dog Parks in the 4th Ward
- Enhanced access to lake front and parking
- Created Michael Reese Community Advisory Council to advise on site development
- Listened and responded to community needs
- Improved efficiency, communication, and access of office
- Sponsored quarterly senior socials and annual Senior Ball
- Hosted ‘Alderman On the Block’ across the ward
Fight for Equity & Inclusion
- Spearheaded Ida B. Wells Drive – the first downtown street in the city’s history to be named after a woman and/or a person of color
- Introduced ordinance providing bid preferences for companies with diverse management and workforce
- Landmarked the Ebony/Jet building