Does ‘Amara Enyia’ ring a bell? It will.

SHARE Does ‘Amara Enyia’ ring a bell? It will.

Precious Quinn had never heard of the woman who walked into her drama class in the basement of the Austin Community Resource Center on Wednesday and stood watching their scenes, then was introduced by teacher Arraon Hixson.

“My name is Amara Enyia,” she began. “I live in East Garfield Park. I work in Austin. I met Arraon a few years ago. Arraon’s been doing this work in theater for years, I always respected, always enjoyed it, and I am running for mayor of the city of Chicago.”

The three dozen teens applauded.

“I wanted to say a few words to encourage you,” she continued. “As someone who remembers, not too long ago, when I was your age, I know what it’s like. I know what it is, in the community here, and I want to encourage you, all of you, to do what you’re passionate about, and not to let anyone tell you anything is impossible.”

Enyia is certainly taking her own advice, as the only opponent of Rahm Emanuel who is actively campaigning (Former 9th Ward Ald. Robert Shaw’s efforts seem limited to announcing his candidacy last March. He doesn’t even have a website. Karen Lewis is still curling her toes around the edge of the diving board, gathering her courage. And then there is Frederick Collins, whose profile is even lower than Enyia’s).

Enyia has actual campaign buttons, a website. I tagged along with her and was pleased to discovered that, unlike the typical marginal eccentric who feels compelled to run against a powerful if not popular Chicago mayor, she is neither a crank nor a fool, but a thoughtful, grounded community activist, one of six children of Nigerian immigrants, whose only obvious sign of delusion is the apparently sincere belief that she will defeat the mayor in February.

“I fully expect to win,” said Enyia.

Then again, Rahm keeps saying that he’s going to make CPS the best school system in the nation, so maybe a quixotic hunger for the impossible is part of the job description.


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