Alexander Perez

Alexander Perez

Alexander Perez, a social media manager for Adler University, is running for representative of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) 2nd District Council. 

District Councils are new community-elected bodies in each of CPD’s 22 districts. The councils will be tasked with holding monthly public meetings and building stronger relations between the police and community at the local level through gathering public input and developing restorative justice programs. 

The 2nd District Council area runs roughly from 31st to 60th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway to the lakefront; it includes most of Bronzeville, Washington Park, Kenwood and Hyde Park.

Perez grew up in Aurora and graduated from East Aurora High School in 2010. He matriculated at Waubonsee Community College to study nursing and transferred to Columbia College Chicago in 2012, graduating with a degree in television production. 

He said he took an interest in police misconduct during a college class called “Documenting Social Injustice.” As part of the course, Perez created a YouTube playlist with dozens of videos documenting incidents of police misconduct across the country. “It just became a pet project for me,” he said. 

After graduating, Perez worked for the City of Aurora for five years as a  video services coordinator in the mayor’s department of communications. In this role he helped manage the city’s public access television station, crediting this job as fostering  “a love for working with folks.”

He also worked with residents to solve their issues with utility access, navigating legalities such as public access to right-of-ways and easements. 

“I can think of a couple of cases where I had a guy calling me, just exhausted, where Comcast and AT&T were jerking him around for two years about a huge utility pole that had been abandoned in his front yard,” Perez said. “He calls me, I work it out, and a week later the pole is gone.” 

“(I was) really going to bat for these individuals and making sure that their voices were heard,” he said. “They should be able to take care of (their issue) within the confines of the conversation with whatever provider they’re talking to.”

In 2018, he started working for West Aurora School District 129 as its director of community affairs, where he focused on community engagement and ensuring that students received adequate resources. During his tenure, he said he helped the district host giveaway events and school supplies drives. 

Perez said his work for the City of Aurora has primed him for the duties of a police district council member. In both roles, he said, “we really have to work with disenfranchised communities and communities that have really been underserviced and underprovided for years.” 

He returned to school in 2021 to get his MBA from Aurora University, simultaneously working for a marketing boutique owned by his professor, V2M2 Group, Inc.  

He has since held multiple jobs: working as a digital content specialist for North Park University, a social media manager for mental health nonprofit Compass Health Center and since last July, he has been the social media manager for Adler University.  

Perez has lived in Chicago for the last five years; first in Pilsen, then Bridgeport and Bronzeville.

Over the last few years Perez has also volunteered with Chicago NORML, the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. When the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was passed in Illinois in 2019, he said he worked with Chicago NORML to make sure that “police were really going to respect those boundaries and not use the smell of cannabis, or use cannabis to further harass communities of color.” 

“Unfortunately,” he added, “we’re still seeing that.”

If elected, Perez said he would prioritize community engagement and modernize communication from the police department to residents; he said he would accomplish this by building out a “community-owned hub of information.” 

“When it comes to understanding police sentiment and safety levels, there are third parties or other organizations that gather that information,” he said. “I think we (the community) can report better on that information in terms of making it accessible and shareable and digestible for folks.” 

He said his other big priority is expanding mental health resources. “Regardless of your stance on the police, or the community, I think mental health resources and access is something that everybody agrees on,” he said.

He also mentioned wanting to expand the boundaries of the Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) program — which responds to 911 calls with a mental health team — into the 2nd Police District. CARE’s three pilot areas include Uptown/Lakeview, Auburn Gresham/Chatham and an alternate response team launched in June 2022 that covers Gage Park, West Elsdon, West Lawn, Chicago Lawn and West Englewood.  He also wants to extend  the CARE team’s hours to be closer to 24/7 availability. 

If elected, Perez said he will donate 10% of his $6,000 police district council annual stipend to the creation of a scholarship for students who want to attend one of the eight City Colleges of Chicago.

Perez and Coston Plummer, another candidate for 2nd Police District Council, are running as a slate.

Perez and Plummer are running alongside Julia Kline and Ephraim Lee for three council seats; the city’s municipal election is on Feb. 28.

staff writer

Zoe Pharo is a graduate of Carleton College. She was recently an editorial intern for In These Times, and has also written for Little Village and Chapel Hill Magazine. 

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