It is a rare opportunity to bring a truly authentic community voice to such a critical conversation. Jude Laude and the Laude family have been part of the bedrock of Evanston’s Haitian community for more than 50 years. His Father, Wilner, and Mother, Elisa, were among the first to move to Evanston in the 1950’s and 60’s. In the truest sense, Jude was raised by a village, a small but tight-knit community of immigrants who found in Evanston, a special and unique place to live the American dream. It is a legacy Jude, wife Kim, and their four children, Solomon, Najidah, Kwesi, and Azu, now carry into a second generation.
His early education at St. Mary’s catholic school formed a moral compass centered on charity and community service. The school’s multiracial make-up, reflective of Evanston’s great diversity, taught Jude early on that bonds of spirit, collegiality and shared experience can bridge the divisions of race, class and culture. At ETHS, Jude, a varsity athlete, excelled academically, winning a seat in the National Honors Society and academic scholarship to The University of Illinois- Urbana, where he earned his bachelors degree in Psychology.
Upon graduation, Jude traveled the globe for 2 years, immersing himself in the rich traditional cultures of Indonesia, Australia and Africa. In the course of his travels, Jude contracted life-threatening case of Malaria, an experience he sites as both humbling and life affirming. Upon his return to the states, he immediately set out to put experiences of to work. Hosting a series of community service workshops designed to teach the profound life changing lessons learned in his travels.
True to form, Jude found his voice in service to his community and soon began his professional career as a teacher, educator and counselor. During his 26 year career, he has served as an instructor at the Malcolm X College Academic Support Center for the Pre-College Institute, a counselor for the Chicago State University Upward Bound Program, a post-secondary counselor at Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Chicago, and a high school counselor at North Lawndale College Prep High School. He is now in the process of completing his masters degree in Counseling from Governors State University.
Jude’s work in restorative justice, an alternative form of discipline for high school students, has powerfully impacted the lives of his students, empowering them through agency and instilling the values of empathy, personal responsibility and community. This work,’paired with his instrumental roll in developing a mentoring program for high school boys, will lend a needed and crucial voice to the District 202 board.
Still, perhaps the most powerful testament to Jude’s character, dedication and citizenship, are the many supporters who have already committed to his campaign. You will find among them life-long Evanstonians, representative of the racial, economic and cultural diversity of the entire city. In this sense, Jude Laude is a true son of Evanston.
This is why, I am for Jude!