J O H A N N ’ S


  • Current Traffic & Safety Commissioner

  • Metra Rail Expansion Community Advocacy Co-Leader, ‘19-’20

  • Flood Task Force, '08-'12

  • District 90 Diversity Committee, ‘98-’00

  • Professor of Musicology at Wheaton College since ‘03. Founder of the Black Faculty & Staff Organization,

J O H A N N ’ S


Nelson Mandela influenced my governing strategy in three remarkable ways:

  • First, the principle of ubuntu, which identifies our common humanity as the highest good. In negotiation, avoid a winner-takes-all triumph. This strategy diminishes the humanity of the loser. If you cannot persuade to win agreement from your opponent, you always find the good in your opponent’s perspective.

  • Second, always disagree with your opponent without becoming disagreeable. Losing itutu (translated as “coolness”) is regarded as losing one’s humanity.

  • Third, as the son of a chieftain, Mandela developed the custom of chiefs; never speak until everyone has laid out their arguments. Synthesizing the best of all arguments, the wisdom of a win-win strategy—affirming the common humanity of all opponents—brings joy to heated and passionate deliberations.

This is how I implemented community advocacy in River Forest. River Forest residents have known me to state my case forcefully and passionately. I learned from Mandela’s perspective: don’t hate persons who differ with you. Interrogated and threatened with imprisonment by a South African official for standing on principles of vision, integrity, and advocacy, I’ll fight for the common good of all, even if consequences are dire. I bring Mandela’s strategies to serve River Forest.