For César Chávez Day, March 31, Marguerite Casey Foundation honored 36 community leaders across the U.S. who are continuing the legacy of the late farmworker and civil rights advocate. Please join in celebrating their work for a more just and equitable society.
Maxica Williams was among those honored after being nominated by CCH.
Hero’s name: Maxica Williams
Home city: Chicago
The person’s organization: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)
Why is this person a community hero?
“As a cancer survivor who has experienced homelessness, Maxica Williams is using her past to fight for a more equitable future for her community.
She was inspired to fight for change after meeting an organizer from Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) while living at a shelter with her four children in 2016. ‘I was intrigued to learn that elected officials are supposed to work for the people,’ Maxica said. ‘And that they could be held accountable.’
Six months later and cancer-free, Maxica called up CCH and immediately got to work. She marched with the Fight for $15 campaign. She served on focus groups. She registered to vote. And after years of struggle and advocacy, she secured permanent housing for her family in 2017.
In 2018, Maxica spoke with legislators and the press about the difficulties of being homeless, jobless and seriously ill, with only a modest TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant for support. By sharing her story, Maxica helped sway legislators to increase TANF grant levels across Illinois for the first time in a decade, providing critical support to the state’s poorest families.
Today, Maxica continues to fight for her community and a better world for her children. She serves as a core group leader on CCH’s Bring Chicago Home campaign and is a member of CCH’s Speakers Bureau. She recently joined CCH’s board of directors, inspired to add her voice and perspective through a new lens.
‘There is power in numbers,’ Maxica says. ‘Together, ending homelessness is within our grasp.’”
Honored by: Erin Sindewald of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless