United Working Families Names Kennedy Bartley as New Executive Director

The United Working Families Party Committee unanimously voted to hire Kennedy Bartley, a grassroots movement organizer, as the organization’s new Executive Director. She will assume the role on July 13, coinciding with the Netroots Nation conference in Chicago, where progressives from around the country will convene.

“UWF and the City of Chicago are uniquely positioned to be national leaders for what a sustainable, equitable, and just future can look like with bold, organized progressive leadership at the helm. I come from the labor and social movements that have fought and won against the status quo politics that have failed Black and brown working communities for decades. We’re no longer just protesting injustice, we are now setting the agenda for a world that uplifts the many, not the wealthy and powerful few,” Bartley said.

Established in 2015, United Working Families embarked on a mission to reshape the political landscape with and for Black and brown working people. Through a series of electoral victories, UWF has significantly amplified its political influence by endorsing candidates from Illinois’s labor and social movements. Notably, UWF has successfully elected members to Congress and, most recently, Chicago’s 57th Mayor.

Working in coalition, the emerging political party has achieved gains and policy reforms for working people by extracting concessions from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration amid Chicago’s most recent budget cycles. Additionally, the party successfully advocated for healthcare and economic relief during the pandemic through the Right to Recovery campaign. These accomplishments can be largely attributed to the committed stewardship of Emma Tai, UWF’s exiting Executive Director and member of  Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition team.

“We owe Emma, and her family, a debt of gratitude for their unrelenting vision and incomparable ability to deliver results in reimagining and organizing Chicago’s progressive people-powered movement,” said Stacy Davis Gates, UWF Party Chair and President of the Chicago Teachers Union. “Kennedy has the skill, vision, tenacity and heart necessary to lead our organization and solidify a multiracial, multigenerational, working-class movement for the many. She will build upon the generations of grassroots community and political organizing in our great city to organize against the regressive and racist politics of the past while combating the threats on our democracy by the right wing.”

You can read more about Kennedy Bartley’s background and vision for United Working Families HERE.


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