Currently, Alderman Sawyer presides as Chairman of the City Council Health and Human Relations Committee. In this role, he has focused on increasing the access to mental health institutions across the city but particularly in communities of color. He has advocated for “treatment, not trauma” and has steered more resources to mental health than anytime in council history.
Alderman Sawyer is the former chair of the Aldermanic Black Caucus and is responsible for having started the caucus foundation to help with outreach and engagement of the city’s Black residents. He also was an Inaugural Chair of the council’s Progressive Caucus – a legislative coalition dedicated to creating a more just and equal Chicago by combating all forms of discrimination and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all Chicagoans, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.
Alderman Sawyer also serves as the Democratic Committeeman of the 6th Ward, which is a part of the Cook County Democratic Party -whose focus is to represent and protect the interests of working people and guarantee personal liberties for everyone.
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY (ECPS):
Since 2015, Alderman Sawyer had been looking for ways to bridge the divide between the Chicago’s South and West side communities and the Chicago Police Department. He felt that if community members could be involved in the process, they would be more confident in CPD. He worked tirelessly with aldermen all across the city, and in 2021, he and members of the Black and Progressive Caucuses broke through. They passed the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance. The ECPS ordinance will create a citywide commission of seven members, selected by the mayor, but recommended by a nominating committee and approved by City Council, for four-year terms beginning in 2023. Two will be from the South Side, two from the West Side, two from the North Side, and one representative for the whole city. This is one of Alderman Sawyer’s defining ordinances and something he is very proud of.
Alderman Sawyer has always stood with teachers. Alderman Sawyer was the original Chief Co-Sponsor calling for the Elected School Board and is looking forward to community members participating in the democratic process. He believes that a high-quality education should be afforded to all children and that we need equitable resources for underserved schools.
Alderman Sawyer supports common-sense gun laws and criminal justice reform. He knows that the strategies of the 90’s did more harm than help to black and brown communities around the U.S. and believes we must be intentional with how we pass legislation.
Alderman Sawyer was on the front lines of the “Fight for $15” for years before it came to fruition. He was the Sponsor of the original Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance proposing to establish a $15 Minimum Wage in Chicago that was introduced to the City Council in May of 2014. He continues to advocate for working families to be paid a livable wage.