Like many of my neighbors over the last few years, I have observed with dismay the dysfunction that has become the calling card of almost all of the Proviso Township High School D209 school board and their appointed superintendent. I am alarmed at the lack of transparency and competence, the lack of respect, the lack of emotional intelligence that, whether they like it or not, is what many on this current D209 board will be remembered for. 

I’ve invested time attending school board meetings, researching the candidates, contributing to non-partisan efforts such as The Activist Toolkit in generating a candidate questionnaire, and partnering with respected community organizations in order to organize a Candidate Forum. I wanted my choices to be based on evidence and facts, on the record of performance and behavior.

For me, the choice is clear: the candidate slate of Sandra Joseph-Hixson, Jennifer Barbahen, and David Ocampo (Proviso 209 United, HBO) represent the next generation of parent advocate candidates that our district deserves, and I will be proud to vote for them on April 4.

HBO is a dedicated and resourceful team of parents and educators who, above all else, have placed the welfare of our young scholars at the center of what they do. They have invested countless hours listening, responding, and engaging with the community. They provide information concisely, transparently, and honestly, in ways that are easy to understand and without the need to gaslight. They have provided insight as to what their objectives are, and how they will achieve their goals.

And because of these efforts, partnered with school board member Amanda Grant, I know they can rebuild the essential relationships of trust with the educators of our D209 schools, as evidenced by the fact that they alone are the only ones endorsed by the Proviso Teachers Union and West Suburban Teachers Union Local 571. Their majority vote will help the district turn back many of decisions made in recent years and hold the tide against future errors. They will not invite charter schools into our district, and instead, will invest in our students and facilities with judgment and clarity.

My first vote as an American citizen was in 2015 — and I was proud then to vote for a slate of candidates powered by an all-volunteer grassroots coalition of community members. I respectfully thank them for their service, and the change they once were part of.

The people have the power — and I know I will continue to endorse and volunteer and vote for the only clear choice for our community, and the next wave of grassroots change. I remain inspired by Sandra, Jenny, and David, and hope you join me in punching 123, 124 and 125 on your ballot.

Above all — please vote. Every election is essential, and yes, our lives, and the lives of our kids, do depend on it.

Betty Alzamora

Co-Founder, Forest Park Against Racism