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Amara Enyia

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Amara Enyia
Amara Enyia 2018.jpg Amara Enyia 2018.jpg
Enyia in 2018
BornAmarachuku Enyia
1982/1983 (age 37–38)[1]
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
🏡 ResidenceGarfield Park, Chicago[2]
🏳️ Nationality
🏫 EducationUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BS, MEd, JD, PhD)
💼 Occupation
  • Activist
  • community organizer
  • public policy consultant

Amarachuku C. Enyia,[3] known as Amara Enyia, is an American politician, community organizer, and municipal consultant. She is the director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce in Chicago and Chief Executive Officer of ACE Municipal Partners, a municipal consulting firm.[4] Enyia was a candidate for mayor of Chicago in 2015 and 2019.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Enyia's parents were born in Nigeria and migrated to the United States in the 1970s.[7] She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in University Park, Illinois, where she attended Crete-Monee High School.[6][7] She attended graduate school and law school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Master of Education in 2008, a J.D. in 2009, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies in 2010.[7][8][9]


Enyia worked in the policy department of the Chicago mayor's office until the end of Mayor Richard M. Daley's term in May 2011.[6] After the fellowship, she worked as a community organizer in Chicago's West Side, and served as the executive director of Austin Coming Together, an umbrella organization that promotes coordination and collaboration between community and nonprofit organizations in Austin, Chicago.[10][6][11] She also founded ACE Municipal Partners, a consulting firm that works with municipal officials, and serves as executive director for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.[6]

From 2013 to 2016, she maintained a blog about local government affairs entitled "The Municipal Maven."[12][13]

In May 2017, Enyia took a job as the interim village manager of University Park, Illinois.[14] Her brief tenure as interim village manager was later reported to have been troublesome, with a dispute taking place between her and the village surrounding what her salary should be, and some village trustees criticizing her during her tenure for doing what they regarded to be an insufficient amount of work.[14][15] The village's mayor Vivian Covington praised the value of Eniya's legal expertise, despite critics in the village arguing it was limited in value by the fact she was not a practicing attorney.[14] In August 2017, her tenure ended.[14]


2015 Chicago mayoral election[edit]

Enyia announced her candidacy for the 2015 mayoral election in February 2014.[16] She was the first candidate to announce that they were going to challenge incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel.[17]

She withdrew from the race on December 9, 2014[18] and endorsed Bob Fioretti the next day.[19] Enyia dropped-out due to the fact that her candidature petitions were being challenged, and her campaign lacked the resources to fight such a challenge.[17][18][20]

2019 Chicago mayoral election[edit]

On August 28, 2018, Enyia announced that she would once again run for Chicago mayor in the 2019 election, at a campaign launch event in Bridgeport.[21][22][23] Enyia expressed support for police reform, increasing budget transparency, investment in neighborhood development projects, and proposed the creation of a public bank and the use of Community Benefits Agreements for large development projects.[24][25]

On October 16, 2018, she was endorsed by Chance the Rapper,[26] garnering significant attention for her campaign in local media[27][28][29][2][30][31][25] and national media.[32][33][34][35][36][37] Chance later donated $400,000 to her campaign.[38]

On January 31, Dorothy A. Brown, whose own candidacy had ended after she was removed from the ballot due to issues with her petition, endorsed Enyia.[39]

Due to her 2015 campaign not filing quarterly finance reports after it was suspended, she accrued $73,540 in debt that would have to be paid in order for her to appear on the 2019 ballot.[40] On October 22, 2018, Kanye West made a contribution of that exact amount to Enyia's campaign.[40][41] The campaign released a statement saying "The $73,540 debt to the Illinois State Board of Elections had been paid in full. The Amara Enyia campaign thanks Chicago native, Kanye West, for his generous action."[41]

Eniya's campaign focused much of its efforts on the youth vote.[42] One of her efforts was a February 11 "Party to the Polls", which Eniya described as a key part of her strategy aimed at engaging college students. The rally bussed college students from seventeen Chicago-area campuses to the Richard J. Daley Center for a rally followed by early voting. It went poorly. Despite having been advertised to appear, Chance the Rapper bailed the day of. Despite heavy advance advertising of the event on college campuses, only roughly forty people showed up to the rally.[43][44] Ultimately, youth turnout in the election was low.[45]

As press scrutiny of Eniya increased towards February, bad press began to arise. At the start of February the Chicago Tribune reported that in 2018, Enyia had failed to report a third of her income, including the $21,000 she received or her work on Christopher G. Kennedy’s gubernatorial campaign.[46] In mid-February, the Tribune reported that Eniya had allegedly failed to pay a former campaign spokesperson $24,000 for four month of work.[47]

In the election on February 26, 2019, Enyia placed sixth in a field of 14 candidates, winning about 8% of the vote.[48]

Enyia opted against endorsing either Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle in the runoff, arguing that neither of the two candidates were truly "progressive".[49]

In July 2019, Enyia's campaign was sued by 24 former campaign staffers alleging wage theft.[50] Enyia's campaign responded by saying that the campaign was in debt, and that it planned to continue holding fundraisers to pay off the debt and unpaid wages.[51]

Personal life[edit]

She currently lives in the Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago.[52] She has five siblings, including a twin sister.[23]


  1. Amara Enyia runs for mayor! Wait, who?
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Chance the Rapper Endorses Amara Enyia for Mayor of Chicago". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  3. "City of Chicago :: View Statements of Financial Interests for Independent Contractors 2018". www.cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  4. "Our Team | Austin Chicago Chamber". austinchicagochamber.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  5. "Meet Amara – AMARA". amaraenyia.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Erbentraut, Joseph (2014-04-02). "This 30-Year-Old Community Organizer Thinks She Can Beat Rahm Emanuel". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Joravsky, Ben. "Amara Enyia runs for mayor! Wait, who?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  8. Enyia, Amara. "Amara Enyia - LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  9. C., Enyia, Amarachuku (2011-05-25). When good faith is not enough: Ensuring education equity during and after legal intervention (Dissertation thesis). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  10. "'Austin Coming Together' brings together neighborhood at new headquarters on Chicago's west side | IFF". IFF. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  11. "Austin Coming Together getting a new leader". AustinTalks. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  12. "El Beisman". www.elbeisman.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  13. "Wayback Machine". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Heinzmann, David (4 February 2019). "Amara Enyia's financial problems: Underreporting income, tax lien, lawsuits". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  15. Vinicky, Amanda (4 February 2019). "Enyia Casts Personal Financial Issues as Selling Point in Campaign for Mayor". WTTW News. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  16. Lydersen, Kari (2014-02-20). "Who's Afraid of Rahm Emanuel?". In These Times. ISSN 0160-5992. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Slodysko, Brian (10 December 2014). "Enyia dropping out of mayoral race, endorsing Fioretti". chicago.suntimes.com. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Amara Enyia's Withdrawal Reflects the Ongoing Reality of Chicago Politics". Gapers Block. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  19. "Amara Enyia drops out of mayoral race". www.austinweeklynews.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  20. Sudo, Chuck (10 December 2010). "Amara Enyia Drops Out Of Mayoral Race, Endorses Fioretti". The Chicagoist. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  21. staff, Chicago Tribune. "Morning Spin: Amara Enyia marks 11th challenger to enter crowded race against Mayor Rahm Emanuel". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  22. "Amara Enyia Takes Aim at Emanuel in Second Bid for Chicago Mayor". WTTW News. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Amara Enyia: Continuing to Challenge the Status Quo". southsideweekly.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  24. "Chicago's deadly summer". The Guardian. 2018-08-12. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Chance the Rapper's Mayoral Endorsement Is a Pretty Big Deal". Chicago magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  26. "(Press Release) Chance the Rapper Endorses Amara Enyia for Mayor – AMARA". amaraenyia.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  27. Tribune, Chicago. "Chance the Rapper endorses Amara Enyia for mayor". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  28. Ruthhart, Bill. "Chance the Rapper brings his star power to a long-shot campaign, backing Amara Enyia for Chicago mayor". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  29. "Chance the Rapper endorses Amara Enyia to be Chicago's next mayor". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  30. Wall, Craig (2018-10-16). "Chance the Rapper endorses Amara Enyia for Chicago mayor". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  31. "Chance The Rapper Endorses Activist Amara Enyia For Chicago Mayor". Block Club Chicago. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  32. "Chance The Rapper endorsed Amara Enyia for Chicago mayor. Here's what she stands for". Newsweek. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  33. Richards, Kimberley (2018-10-17). "Chance The Rapper Endorses Chicago Mayoral Candidate Amara Enyia". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  34. "Chance the Rapper Endorses Amara Enyia for Chicago Mayor | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  35. "Chance the Rapper Isn't Running: Your Tuesday Pop Culture Cheat Sheet". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  36. Hyman, Dan (2018-10-16). "Chance the Rapper Endorses Amara Enyia in Chicago Mayoral Race". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  37. "Chance the Rapper Endorses Activist Amara Eniya For Chicago's Upcoming Mayoral Election". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  38. https://www.complex.com/music/2019/01/chance-the-rapper-donates-amara-enyia-chicago-mayoral-campaign
  39. Thometz, Kristen (31 January 2019). "Dorothy Brown Endorses Amara Enyia for Mayor". WTTW News. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Ruthhart, Bill. "Kanye West gives $73K to Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia, who is backed by Chance the Rapper". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  41. 41.0 41.1 "Kanye West Makes Donation in Chicago Mayoral Race". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  42. Rhodes, Dawn; Bowean, Lolly (1 March 2019). "Ignorance, apathy, or just the weather? Why young people blew off Chicago's recent election". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  43. Rene, Shane (18 February 2019). "Amara Enyia delivers a walk to the polls, but no Chance the Rapper". The DePaulia. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  44. Byrne, John (11 February 2019). "Chance the Rapper a no-show at Amara Enyia's downtown early voting campaign rally". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  45. Wojciechowski, Charlie; Conboy, Benjamin (February 27, 2019). "Too Many Candidates, Poor Youth Turnout Blamed for Low Vote Totals in Chicago". NBC Chicago. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  46. Heinzmann, David (11 May 2020). "Amara Enyia's financial problems: Underreporting income, tax lien, lawsuits". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  47. Heinzmann, David (13 February 2019). "Ex-spokeswoman sues Amara Enyia, alleges candidate failed to pay her $24,000". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  48. City of Chicago Board of Elections (2019-03-01). "Municipal General Election: February 26, 2019—Unofficial Summary Report" (PDF). www.chicagoelections.com. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  49. Enyia, Amara (12 March 2019). "Amara Enyia: Mayoral candidates need to focus on economic divide". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  50. "24 Former Campaign Staffers Accuse Amara Enyia of Wage Theft". NBC Chicago. 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  51. Kapos, Shia; Hurst, Adrienne. "ENYIA in the spotlight — FOXX's first campaign event — KOKONAS' TRUMP connection". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  52. "Who is Amara Enyia?". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-10-19.

External links[edit]

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