New Role, New Goal

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessLongtime education advocate Cristina Pacione-Zayas garnered quite the experience working with such prolific organizations as Erikson Institute, Latino Police Forum, Enlace Chicago, and The Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago, earning her Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Pacione-Zayas now sits as the State Senator for the 20th Illinois Senate District and looks to implement impactful policies that will create long-lasting opportunities for those within the district she now serves. Senator Pacione-Zayas lays out her plans in the coming months during a phone interview with Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper for our New Role, New Goal series.

Pivotal Lesson
Coming from a family of community organizers I learned the fundamentals of collaborating with other families, community leaders, working closely with children, young people, and educators. It’s in my blood. Growing up in Logan Square there were many injustices occurring throughout our neighborhood, the same injustices occurring in many neighborhoods today, so I learned about social responsibility and the importance of working as a collective to bring about change.

New Role, New Goal
There are many areas that I would like to keenly focus on, first being providing an abundant amount of COVID-19 resources to the 20th District. It’s disheartening to witness the rise in COVID-19 cases in comparison to other neighborhoods. We are working on a strategy to get COVID-19 under control, to bring about rapid testing sites set-up so people can feel comfortable and safe. In the realm of business, I am going to be honest, it’s going take a long time to recover from this, but I believe we can formulate a plan that will help entrepreneurs sustain their business. It will just take time. Another component I would like to focus on is on the education side. We need to be innovated in how we continue to work under a pandemic. We need to create new ways students can learn both in-person and virtual, we need to create the best practices for remote learning so that students are not left behind.

Civic Leadership
As the old adage goes, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. In order to inspire change, you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. If we look at most of the movements that occurred over the summer, they were all organized by our young activists. There is a lot of energy and a clear vision on how to bring about change. There is a lot of excitement so let that be your point of entry to get involved. Make a change.

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