Marlene Fisher, an information technology (IT) administrator at the University of Chicago, a resident of Grand Crossing, and a master gardener, is running for City Council for the 5th Ward.
“I’ve done a lot in the Grand Crossing community, and I plan to bring that experience to the other districts of[5th Ward]to manage each area’s distinct and unique needs,” Fisher said. rice field.
Fisher was born in Jonestown, Mississippi, and moved to Decatur, central Illinois, at an early age. She enrolled at Bradley College in Peoria, Illinois in 1990, where she graduated with a degree in her computer and her systems business.
After graduating, she has worked in the public and private IT sectors for over 25 years.
She moved to the South Shore in 1998 and five years later joined the technical team at Emil G. Hirsch Metropolitan High School in Grand Crossing, Chicago Public Schools (CPS). She also coached the school’s boys’ basketball team.
Although she dropped out of school after three years, Fisher said her time at Hersh was influential.
She said she encountered students whose “only problem was[they]going to school” because of family problems, homelessness and gang activity. said.
During her tenure, she organized fundraising efforts to provide the basketball team with new jerseys and basic equipment, and sent some players to a summer skills-building camp at Bradley University. “That’s how I was introduced to the neighborhood,” Fisher said.
After Hirsch, Fischer continued to work at the headquarters of CPS and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She then took a job as Senior PeopleSoft Security Administrator at the University of Chicago, a role she still holds today.
In 2009, she permanently moved to Grand Crossing and purchased a home in Revere Way, an affordable housing development built by the Gary Cummer Foundation.
Concerned about the “neighborhood plague”, Fisher joined a beautification effort. She mowed the lawn and cleared some vacant lots.
During this time, she repurposed a municipal vacant lot two houses down from her home and turned it into a vegetable and flower garden. Fisher named the lot “Greasy Gardens” because it is a popular dumping ground for the neighborhood.
Winner of the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Award each year from 2017 to 2019, the gardens are also used for community events such as the annual Harvest Party and Juneteenth Celebration. She eventually purchased the land through the city’s adjacent land acquisition program in 2018.
Fisher is also a Master Gardener, a trained horticulturist who serves the community through volunteer service projects, and a Master Urban Farmer through the University of Illinois School of Extension.
When asked why he decided to run, Fisher thought his work and volunteer experience would help him “do more” for his community.
“I have professional experience and community activism. I know the challenges of public schools in Chicago and the challenges of living in housing insecure areas,” she said. “I think people like me who want to live in the neighborhood have the opportunity to do more.”
Fisher identified Ward 5’s biggest problems as a lack of affordable housing, economic investment, and public safety.
Regarding housing, she said: I would like to know what the (company’s) rental policy is and what the eviction policy is.”
On the topic of public safety, Fisher said he supports the new local police district council and holds law enforcement accountable for misconduct. He also regularly attends CAPS meetings.
As for economic investment, Fisher said he would like to see more companies on the ward. She also uses her IT knowledge of her own to help voters learn the system, including filing her 311 requests, she said.
He is also a project leader for Habitat for Humanity, a member of the Steering Committee for Nature, Culture, and Human Health Network, president of the Greenwood Block Club, and a judge for the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards.