Friday, June 6, 2014

Bridgeport International is Back....with a Video Interview



We have been released from the shackles of winter. Everyone is walking around in their best undershirts and work boots, trees are blooming, and I drank beers with my 68yr old polish neighbor on his stoop while he played Kid Rock music videos. #BridgeportNights

Welcome to the rebirth of the Blog of the Future for the Paper of the Future for the Community of the Future. In the spirit of Spring we present to you, the Bridgeport International's first video interview with mayoral candidate Amara Enyia, at her campaign kickoff at Co-Prosperity Sphere on June 2, 2014. Dr. Enyia is one of the smartest and most hardworking people I have ever met, and an excellent choice for mayor.

_________________________________________________________________________________Thanks to the Bridgeport International's videographer, Tom V.


AMARA ENYIA: My name is Amara Enyia--A-M-A-R-A  E-N-Y-I-A

LM: We know how to spell it, you don't have to! How do you feel after this first event?

AMARA ENYIA:I feel excellent, I think the energy in the room was palpable, I think it was very positive, people were excited,  they were enthusiastic, and I think they are ready to do the work necessary to transform this city. So I feel great.

LM: Was there any, like, symbolic reason for having it in the stronghold of the Daley 11th Ward?

AMARA ENYIA: Yes, indeed. We are sending a strong message. So, we are taking our message right to the heart of the machine. We're taking our message to those strongholds of cronyism, of corruption, that's the point, and we're making a very strong statement that this is a new day. That we're writing a new chapter.

LM: We're a super local Bridgeport paper, so what do you think about Bridgeport, do you hang out here ever?

AMARA ENYIA: I've always loved Bridgeport, I actually, I always hang out, I go to the...Bridgeport, um what's the park...?

LM: Palmisano Park?

AMARA ENYIA: Yes, Palmisano, I go there all the time, do like bird watching and other random things. So I actually love the neighborhood.

LM: What kind of birds do you watch? What's your favorite bird?

AMARA ENYIA: I don't know, I don't really know what they're called, but they're always nice, it's very peaceful there. So, I just walk there.

LM: What neighborhoods have you lived in?

AMARA ENYIA: I lived I live in Garfield Park. I've always lived kinda west--Garfield Park, I lived in Medical District for awhile.. But, yeah, I get around.

LM: I know in a lot of your interviews, you're like, you want to be a model for self-efficacy for young people, I saw a tweet recently about that was like "young people are underestimating themselves"?


LM: What do you mean exactly by that and also, how,  I know being a model is one thing, but how, at the community level can you foster that feeling in people.  Cause I know it's something I have a problem with  personally, a lot of the people I meet, they don't really feel like they can do a lot. 

AMARA ENYIA: We have to do it by example. So it's just by actually doing the things, so for me, it's just the process of running. Sometimes I think we do underestimate ourselves because of what society tells us is possible, or they'll say we're too young, or we don't have enough money, or all those things. So I think we just need to look beyond that and  just do some certain things. So for me, it's sort of leading by example. A lot of people would try to discount me, because of my age or experience or what have you, but if we know what is right, and we have the ability to do it, I think we have a responsibility, and I think young people have to really see themselves as capable of changing systems,  and not feeling intimidated or scared to change the status quo. And so, the the best way to do it from my standpoint is to do it by example. And so, through me, and what I'm doing,  other people will be inspired to do whatever that looks like. It doesn't have to be running for office necessarily, it can be any number of things, but it's just notion of daring to actually do.

LM: Do you think that's something that's  diminished in the young population, that feeling of not having efficacy?

AMARA ENYIA: I think our current system perpetuates a sense of apathy. And it's not necessarily because of us, but I think the system of place makes it so that, makes people feel like they don't have a say in government, in leadership, in their communities. And so that's what we're pushing back against, so we're dispelling all of the conventional wisdom. We're not accepting the conventional wisdom. We're saying that that does not apply to us, and then in spite of what they say we're actually going to move forward and do what we know is right.

LM: Do you have a special plan for like integrating young people into your campaign, or like something with you on the other side when you win?

AMARA ENYIA Oh yeah, definitely in the campaign at all levels, because that's the energy that we need in the city. And even in the city, I think incorporating their voices into our policy is important, it's something that we don't do enough, so having those voices actively engaged in the policy-making process and making sure that they are at the table when a lot of these decisions are being made it's something we have to be intentional about, and I intend to be intentional about it.

LM:Do you ever worry, you know there's people that get caught for corruption or looking at child pornography on state computers or whatever, but they don't go into, I assume, they didn't go into that process, like, thinking they were gonna take bribes or like turn evil like that, do you ever wonder that the system is something that would take you over once you got to the other side?

AMARA ENYIA:No, because my core values are in tact, and I knew who I was and what I stood for before getting into office. .  So Running for office is just an extension of what my values are. So I know that, you know, things like money and power, those are not the things that drive me. So, because my identity is intact going in, there's no, I'm not going to be tripped up identify, I am not going to be tripped up, or be swayed by, the things that tend to trip up our typical elected official.So I have no worries about that.

LM: What kind of stories did you write while you were the editor in chief (at UIC). What was your favorite kind of, like side story, any, like, puff pieces you especially liked writing? 

AMARA ENYIA: There were so many. I mean I really can't pinpoint one now, but it was definitely one of the best jobs I ever had, as editor in chief. Because, the knowledge, the telling peoples stories, I've always been interested in that, and getting to really see the university at this top level, and being able to tell the stories of students in the community, and managing a newspaper. I mean it was, a great experience for me.

LM: Did you do anything with that afterwards?

AMARA ENYIA: No, I betrayed the field. And went to law school and...

LM: Did it help you in law school at all? (Probably not.)

AMARA ENYIA: Not so much, but I still write, I've always been a writer. I just turned my talents a little bit in the other direction.

LM: Any stories, from working under Mr. Daley any like little tidbits.. (Amara makes the "zipped lips" sign.") Not even one?  He never, like, spilled a drink and everybody laughed, or ate a weird kind of sandwich.

AMARA ENYIA: I'd have to think about that one a little bit,

LM: Not even a small one?

AMARA ENYIA: There are many stories. I'd have to think about that.

LM: Too deep in the vault?

AMARA ENYIA: Let me go back and recall some things.

LM: Maybe we'll email you and ask you. 

LM: Well, do you have any words of encouragement for people who are at their 80th hour and they should maybe make it to their 95th hour of working for something. Like, what gets you over that hurdle when you want to stop if you ever do. 

AMARA ENYIA: You just have to do it. I mean, we know the right things. We just have to do it, and we can't be scared, you know. It's going to require sacrifice, it requires work, it requires fighting. But there are forces that are fighting against us. So their not going to stop fighting, their not going to rest. so, to the extent that we can we have to keep pushing. And, It's not just for us, it's for something bigger than us. It's not just for me, like this isn't about me, this is bigger than me, it's bigger than Rahm. And so, if we know what needs to happen, of we have an idea of what should be, then we have to fight to actualize that vision. Because at the same time they are also fighting to push  their vision of what Chicago should look like. And so that to me, that's what keeps me moving, that's why I'm running.


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