Krissie Harris, 2nd Ward incumbent, talks community roots and improving city safety


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd). Harris is running to defend her seat on City Council against challengers Darlene Cannon and Patricia Gregory.

Kara Peeler, Print Managing Editor

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd), a fifth-generation Evanston resident, said she comes from a “family of service,” bringing a strong sense of community into her work.

In September 2022, Mayor Daniel Biss appointed Harris to City Council following former Ald. Peter Braithwaite’s (2nd) resignation. She’s now running for reelection against Evanston/Skokie School District 65 teacher Patricia Gregory and activist Darlene Cannon, and is focusing on city safety. 

Harris is a trustee of the Second Baptist Church and has served on the boards of YWCA Evanston/North Shore and the Dajae Coleman Foundation. She has worked at Oakton College for about 25 years, where she is currently the manager of student life and campus inclusion.

Clarence D. Weaver, Sr., co-owner at C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor and 2nd Ward resident, said Harris is the “glue” of the ward.

“She comes from a family of people that really thinks things through and cares about the community,” Weaver said. “When you come through a lineage of successful individuals that legitimately care about the community … that’s irreplaceable.” 

Harris said her priority for City Council is safety: making sure policies, procedures and standards are “up to par” and “in line with the value of the city.” As a councilmember, she said she was involved in hiring the new Evanston Police Chief Schenita Stewart. 

Harris is also working to standardize rubrics for City Council to use in decision making, she said, to ensure everyone follows the same process when assessing initiatives based on facts. 

Following the 39-page report released by Black city employees in November sharing concerns about discrimination and workplace mistreatment, Harris said she hopes to improve the work environment in the future.

“A lot of this happened before I got there, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fix, can’t do anything about the past,” she said. “Moving forward, making sure that these don’t happen, not only to this marginalized group, but to anyone.” 

Former Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) said she has known Harris since Harris was a child. Holmes said she has observed her making a difference in the community for more than 20 years.

Harris and her mother stepped in to take over the African American Youth Achievement Awards  once Holmes and Mary Wilkerson retired, Holmes added. 

(Harris) has demonstrated to the community that she’s a good listener, that she’s concerned about the community, that she knows what the issues are and that she’s willing to work to resolve whatever it is that she can in partnership with the rest of the council,” she said. 

Weaver and Holmes both called Harris transparent and communicative. 

Harris said she values relationship-building with her constituents and fellow councilmembers. 

I’m gonna give you my honest opinion, all the way from the president of (Oakton College) to the president of the United States to the custodian,” Harris said. “People will tell you: ‘You know where Krissie stands.’

Harris said she has noticed the city hires consultants for many projects and thinks the city should hire more staff instead. 

She also said the city should “get a little better handle of money” by bringing organizations and social service agencies together to minimize duplication of services. 

“She’s one of the nine people I would have at a table,” Weaver said. “I live in the 2nd Ward, and I don’t think there could be a better candidate for my ward, personally, than Krissie Harris.” 

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Twitter: @karapeeler