Published on October 8th, 2009 | by thevyne0
Spotlight On: Cheryle Robinson Jackson
“I am running … to fight for our families and to help our communities all around the state of Illinois prosper, particularly at a time of such tough economic declines,” Jackson said in a Far South Side market and bakery.
She is running for arguably the most coveted seat in the Senate. As a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in IL, the position formerly held by President Barack Obama, Cheryle Robinson Jackson is looking to blaze new trails yet again.
A native of the South Side of Chicago, Cheryle is one of five children to Charles and Earnestine Robinson. It’s no wonder that Cheryle grew up to be as tenacious and successful as she has become given the example her parents set for her. Her father was a graduate of Ohio State University and entrepreneur who used his talent as an accountant to help minority business owners obtain small business association loans. Cheryle’s mother has the distinction of being her high school’s valedictorian and the first in her family to graduate from college when she began her studies at Fisk University. However, it was the sudden death of her father that forced her to temporarily pause her studies and relocate to Chicago as the sole caretaker for her eleven siblings. Despite the unplanned new responsibilities, Earnestine was able to continue her education at Northwestern University and eventually met and married Cheryle’s father Charles.
It was the lessons her parents demonstrated for her around persistence and the importance of education that undoubtedly impacted Cheryle’s rise to local and national fame. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Cheryle attended Northwestern University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Design. She went on to attend the Art Institute of Chicago and pursued graduate work at the University of Memphis. While attending University of Memphis, Cheryle was struck with Grave’s disease, a hereditary auto-immune disorder. Her fight to obtain health care coverage gave her a new found empathy for the struggles of other Americans unable to do the same.
Professionally, Cheryle has a held a myriad of prominent and challenging roles. She began her career at a local public TV and radio station in Memphis and eventually transitioned to National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. While there she held the position of VP of Corporate Communications. The sudden death of her mother-in-law brought her back to Chicago where she went to work for AMTRAK as Regional VP of State and Local affairs. It was this role that would prove to be just the preparation she needed to serve as press secretary for former IL Governor, Rod Blagojevich. However, it was her disappointment in the culture of the former governor’s administration that drove her to leave the position before his first term was up and make history as the first woman to be President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. She instantly made an impact when she shifted the agenda of the organization to focus on economic empowerment as the driver for social change.
On September 16, 2009 Cheryle made headlines when she officially joined the senate race. People who know Cheryle describe her as a tenacious, driven leader who knows how to get things done. If her success at the helm of the Chicago Urban League is any indication of what is yet to come from Cheryle then we look forward to watching her race for the senate unfold.