Devin Jones

Devin Jones

Devin Jones is a Navy veteran, small business owner, former Catholic school teacher and lifelong resident of Chicago’s South Side. He saw his mother struggle to make ends meet. As an adult, he took in two of his students who were homeless. He’s seen the challenges facing the South Side firsthand. Solving them starts with individuals, he said.

“My grandparents are from Mississippi. My grandmother was actually raised by her grandmother and her great-grandmother, who were both slaves at one point.”

“My grandfather also grew up in Mississippi. No educational opportunities past about the seventh grade. In the ’50s, they migrated to Chicago, left the Jim Crow South, and came up here with three kids – my mother and her two brothers.”

“They were one of the first Black families in this neighborhood. Even coming here, my mother went to segregated schools as a child, because it was still the ’60s and early ’70s. They experienced redlining, where they couldn’t live in certain neighborhoods.”

“My story is that I’m the first. I like to say I’m the first to experience the full American Dream. By and large, I’ve had the opportunities. But when you’re talking about a first generation, there’s still hurdles you have to get over. There’s no generational wealth.”

“My mother raised me as a single mom, and coming to the policies that affect us today, with a terrible Chicago public school system, my mother had to pull me out. She worked three jobs to send me to private school.”

“The biggest thing is that people need to be empowered, not the government. We’ve seen such a transfer of wealth from individual people to the government. Such a transfer of authority.”

“The city government is massive right now. Yet it can’t stop crime. It hasn’t stopped poverty. It hasn’t educated a child.”

“Whether it’s middle-class people, or the working poor, or people who are in poverty, my biggest thing is that our enemy is not each other. I want to see us as community members, as neighbors, come together and say, ‘Listen, we can do this by ourselves.’”

“There’s a role for government, but it’s not in everything. And the bigger it gets, the less we have.”

Devin Jones
Founder, Salvare LLC
Chicago, Illinois

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