Cameron Barnes is a 24-year-old rising national leader in Chicago, with a passionate fuel for activism and a goal to unify humanity. A Class of 2020 graduate of Central State University, earning a BS in Marketing, Cameron has previously served as the National Youth Director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, working alongside his mentor, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. With the unique opportunity to serve in that capacity, he used it to travel the country pushing the mission of PUSH to today’s generation, which is simply to “Protect, Defend and Gain Civil Rights!” Cameron is also an associate minister of New Faith Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago, a General Board Member of the non-profit youth empowerment organization You Matter 2, Inc. and a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

In September of 2022, Cameron launched this campaign for Alderman of the 9th Ward, where he has been a life-long resident. Having traveled the country to fight battles from coast to coast and feeling guilty seeing the dilapidation of his own neighborhood upon every return home, Cameron forsook his role as National Youth Director, resigned and opted to pursue a local and more personal position in the seat of Alderman of the 9th Ward.

Cameron identifies as a public servant and not a politician, and is very interested in bringing the community of which he is from, along with all surrounding areas, to a greater sense of comradery, safety and economic development. The platform of this campaign is the platform of Cameron’s life: to cultivate opportunity through new leadership. The ancient ways of politics over people, back door deals and personal interests will only continue to spiral our livelihoods downward even further, we must act now to stop gentrification of our communities, promote not only quality, but also modern and innovative education through coding, robotics, STEAM, and trades, and invest in programs that can finally create generational wealth in the Black community. We must thrive now, more than ever! This is not a campaign only for the seat of 9th ward alderman, this is a campaign to uplift the moral standard of our far-south side community as a whole!

Cameron’s immediate vision for the 9th Ward can be summed up in 3 points: (1) Revitalization without Gentrification (2) Education Innovation and (3) Reprioritize Resource Allocation. Here is our plan:

  1. Revitalization without Gentrification
    • Under our current leadership, when investment comes to the 9th Ward, it comes with the price of severe gentrification. Pushing black people out slowly but surely over the last decade, especially. According to Statistical Atlas ( Pullman’s population can be articulated as 40.4% White and 36.8% Black. After the Civil War, over 20,000 Blacks worked as Pullman Porters and are often credited with developing the black middle class of America, especially being the first to form an all black union under A Phillip Randolph. As descendants of these men and women took up lives in this neighborhood, it became more and more of a robust and bustling Black Community, especially with the surrounding area of Roseland and Michigan street. It is no secret that Roseland and Michigan street is nothing like it used to be, as investment has come to Pullman, it’s been snatched completely from Roseland, Rosemoor, Chatham, Washington Heights and surrounding areas of the 9th Ward. There are hundreds, if not thousands of vacant properties in these neighborhoods that need to be used for true investment that meets the people’s needs. I, with the help and the input of the constituency as a whole, plan to use those properties to revitalize our ward, without gentrifying our ward. We do not have black-owned dry cleaners, movie theaters, sit-down restaurants and fine-dining, live music venues, community spaces, recreational spaces, fully-stocked healthy grocery stores, or the like in our ward and we should! We should be able to thrive in the ward without leaving the ward! I propose to sit down with the community, figure out the top businesses and resources that they particularly request, and then go and entice black owned businesses, investors and developers to come in and use the vacant properties we have to bring those requests to fruition while simultaneously ridding our ward of the eye-sores we see today. Each and every one of us knows a vacant property we cannot stand to see in the ward. Let’s turn it into something!
  1. Education Innovation
    • Almost every candidate running for any office in Chicago will tell you “CPS is failing our kids!” while no one works to think out a true education plan that combats that which we see today. We are in 2023, and countries around the world have our education system beat by introducing their kids to the future at an early age to adequately prepare them for just that–the future. We are in a technological era, everything is digitized, succinct and powered by some form of energy or electricity. Our kids must know that and be prepared to compete in that world if we truly want them to be successful in this next generation and even in the generations already present. We must employ a new educational system that brings STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), Coding and Robotics to the forefront of the curriculum. All of us have an app on our phone that we use daily–that was created by a coder. Business cards virtually don’t even exist anymore, for someone having coded a new way to communicate. Restaurants now have robots as waiters–a robotics engineer built it. You can now walk into McDonald’s and order on a huge touchscreen and never interact with a human at all–an engineer coded and built that. This is the world we live in today that will only become even more advanced by tomorrow and if we want our kids to succeed, they must know this at an early age and begin practicing and perfecting the way of the future. Not only that, but college is not the only road to success, as many of us know. As a plumber, one can earn $60 – $150 per hour, depending on the area they work in, the median electrician hourly wage in America for an intermediate (2-4 years) is $30, which will continue to increase annually. TRADES MUST BE BROUGHT BACK TO THE TABLE! A student needs to know that if they don’t go to college, they can still legally earn enough income to support themselves and their families and then crime and gang activity will begin to decrease when our kids are more occupied living a prosperous and legal life, not toting a gun and looking over their shoulder for an enemy because they have none. I propose for us to rethink the curriculum of the schools that serve our children, together as a community and work to implement this new innovative curriculum at least by the Fall of 2025, if not sooner.


  1. Reprioritize Resource Allocation
    • According to Block Club Chicago, the 2023 Chicago budget is a whopping $16.4 Billion. Divide that by 50 wards, and one could say that your alderman should be responsible for controlling at least $328 Million, which would be the equal amount for all wards across Chicago. There must be a prioritization of allocation for over $300 million and the constituents of the 9th Ward should have first grab that. Already we see the neglect of our needs as tax-paying citizens when we cannot get the resources we need, while the remaining 1,531 migrants enjoy the luxury of living in our ward with nearly $200 million of investment from the State of Illinois and the city of Chicago. ( and we are left with the ruins of what used to be our ward. Break those numbers down and migrants receive an investment of over $122,000 per person in our ward. The constituents deserve that kind of investment too! Over 65,000 people are unhoused asylum-seekers in Chicago, we must be able to provide for our own at the same rate as anyone else. Resources, internships, apprenticeships, scholarships and opportunities all alike that are made available through the city of Chicago should go first to the tax-paying citizens that make up the economy of this great city, in each of its respective wards. The 9th Ward constituents deserve a fair share of allocation that comes to meet their direct needs, under current leadership we too are metaphorical “asylum-seekers” in our own neighborhood.

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