Representative Collins is a lifelong Chicagoan, a mother of 3, and an organizer.
Lakesia Collins, a Chicago native, was raised by her grandmother who was a stroke survivor. As a result, addressing the needs of others has become part of her DNA.
After graduating from Proviso East High School, Lakesia pursued her passion to care for others and acquired certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and provided years of service to residents in several Chicago nursing homes.
A single mother of three boys, Lakesia also is keenly aware of the needs of Black and Brown communities and the need to provide safe areas, particularly for young males.
While working in those nursing homes, Lakesia felt the impact that issues like low staffing levels and heavy workloads had on the quality of care workers were able to deliver to residents. She also felt the impact low wages for the type of labor had on workers.
She lifted her voice around these issues and became a leader in her union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, where she also served on the Executive Board for three years. Lakesia put her energy into lobbying legislators in Springfield to successfully pass a groundbreaking nursing home reform bill in 2010 that raised standards.
Realizing the importance of politics, Lakesia has worked with organizations like Chicago Votes and has organized and led Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for candidates and on behalf of workers in the union. She also has lobbied for Fair Tax legislation and a $15 minimum wage.
Her visibility in politics attracted the attention of noted activist Bea Lumpkin, the energetic 101-year-old activist, to co-found the Intergen Alliance, a coalition of seniors and young activists to work on issues like healthcare, voting rights, tuition free colleges, and other concerns.
Lakesia also founded the Future Fighters, a labor organization to help young workers find their voices in the union. She became active in facilitating “Know Your Rights” trainings to people of color in community and organized labor groups following the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo. She also facilitates racial justice workshops for community and labor groups.
In 2019, Lakesia received the Florence Criley Award from the Chicago chapter of the Coalition of Labor Women (CLW). The award recognizes activism and leadership as well as the ability to inspire young women to take on leadership roles in their organizations.
Lakesia’s guiding principle? “I was born with the gift of compassion and will continue to do my part to improve the lives of others to secure a future that works for all.”