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6th Ward Candidate William Hall

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6th Ward candidate, William Hall is used to living a life of service.  Hall graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Economics and from McCormick Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity. For the past nine years, William has served as the Senior Pastor of St. James Community Church, just a few blocks away from where he grew up. Outside of his ministry, William traveled the world as Field Director for the Rainbow / PUSH Coalition led by Rev. Jesse Jackson and currently works as the Director of Faith and Community Partnerships for the child welfare advocacy group UCAN Chicago.

Hall faces Richard Wooten to replace Roderick Sawyer who ran unsuccessfully for mayor.  In the Feb. 28th election, Hall received 24% of the vote compared to Wooten’s 23%.  The candidates will face off again in the runoff election on April 4th. The 6th ward consists of the West Woodlawn, Chatham, Park Manor, West Chesterfield, Grand Crossing, Auburn Gresham, and Englewood neighborhoods. Hall says he is ready to serve the residents of the 6th Ward as their next alderperson.  

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why He Decided to Run

He says a different type of leadership is needed now in the 6th ward.  “This system needs a love ethic.  It needs the justice side of faith.  It made me ask the question, “how do I build a coalition to invest in the human dignity of people”, Hall said.

He says he prefers to be referred to as an elected official, not a politician because he sees his constituents as his supervisors. “I’m asking for the residents of the 6th ward to be my supervisors.  It would be an honor and it’s something I take very seriously as an extension of the work I’ve been doing for over 20 years.  Hall says his priorities as an alderperson are education, safety, and infrastructure.

On Public Safety

Hall says a public safety plan must involve the voice of the people that live in the 6th ward. He plans to work with community organizers, block clubs and police. Hall also says that the same public safety initiatives enforced downtown should happen in the 6th ward as well.  “Part of my safety plan includes the voices of block club members because they are the ones in the meetings and watching what is happening in the neighborhood.  I am taking those voices to the third and sixth districts to advocate for officers to walk the beat, ride their bikes in the neighborhood and be stationed in areas designated as hotspots.”

Hall also says his safety plan includes lighting up the neighborhood to deter potential criminals and adding more license plate readers to catch criminals. “I’m not asking for more speed cameras but I’m asking for more lighting in our streets, at intersections near parks and near schools. That slows things down and the license plate readers help us catch hit-and-run offenders and those who are stealing catalytic converters and carjackers”. He says he intends to ask state officials, particularly those who live in the 6th ward to support this public safety infrastructure project.

On Education

Hall says people move to a neighborhood based on what the neighborhood offers. He sees quality schools as a foundation for creating a better ward.    “It’s about education equity.  The current formula is based on the tax base of the neighborhood.  More than 50% of the people who live in this ward, live below the poverty line.” He says he wants more state funding to subsidize what the ward isn’t receiving from the tax base.  “Our elected state officials should be working to secure funding for our schools, so we aren’t waiting in line and fighting for scraps.  Why can’t schools get new smartboards, computers, or air conditioners?  I want our schools to look like gold star campuses where kids will want to go and learn.”

On Entertainment Areas in the 6th Ward

Hall says the 6th ward historically has always been an entertainment center but says the ward needs an entertainment strategy that attracts the right kind of restaurants, bars and lounges.  “Before we develop a new strategy for entertainment areas in the ward, we have to clean up what is already there.   We have to do an evaluation of all of our businesses in the ward. I’m not talking about bars and lounges only, but we have to make sure that our neighborhoods are anchored by businesses that are doing right by the community and that are law-abiding.”

On Staying Connected with the Community

Hall says he has a specific plan to stay connected with the residents of the 6th ward that utilizes social media, the ward’s website and several community meetings each month to address residents’ issues and concerns. His monthly meetings include a “community at large meeting, a daytime meeting specifically for seniors, an education meeting for principals in the schools within the ward, a public safety meeting open to all residents with local police commanders, a business meeting for small business owners, a block club summit meeting with block club presidents and community organizers and a men’s only meeting because he says, “men help to stabilize neighborhoods”.   “Having these meetings every 30 days keeps us connected. It keeps our seniors connected, our businesses, our educators and our residents connected.”

His Plan for Seniors

Hall says he would like to bring a state-of-the-art center for seniors in the ward and plans to work with faith leaders in the ward to create a safe space for seniors to connect with one another and enjoy programming and activities catered to them.

On Bringing Economic Development to the Ward

Hall says bringing economic development to the ward includes adding more single-family homes to the area and helping businesses obtain grants from the city and capital from banks. “I want to look at an economic development plan that includes single-family homes.  Businesses look for homeowners when planning where they want to have their business located. This means we also have to help residents become homeowners and we will work with our local banks to help residents attain the dream of homeownership.  “whether it's renovating a building for investors or providing capital for first-time homeowners, banks have programs and capital for first-time homeowners or those who want to expand their portfolio.”

Hall also says there are “pockets” of land within the ward where there are opportunities to build new businesses from “the ground up” and other underdeveloped areas that could serve as areas for small business owners.

Hall says with any field that involves service; you have to be in it for the right reasons. “You can’t get into this work for the money or the power. It won’t work. You won’t survive and eventually, you will be exposed.  For me, serving this ward is a moral obligation and I don’t take the responsibility lightly.

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About Author:

Danielle Sanders is a multimedia professional with over 20 years of experience as a writer, journalist, and editor. Danielle frequently covers politics, local news, and entertainment.



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