As a mother of three boys, community leader, and immigration & human rights attorney, Jennifer brings smart, common sense leadership to Springfield. She is a tenacious and pragmatic problem-solver who has already earned a track record of fighting for our community’s needs and values in her first term.
Jennifer’s service to community includes pioneering the use of pro bono social workers to serve as guardians ad litem to ensure that no child is left to navigate the complex immigration system alone.
Her family’s experience as immigrants to the United States instilled in her a commitment to public service, which she’s fulfilled as an attorney, on nonprofit boards, and through participation at her synagogue.
Jennifer’s grandparents immigrated from China in the 1920s, started a business and a family. Based solely on their nationality, the federal government sought to deport them under the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Ultimately, her grandparents gained citizenship and raised her father, who served the country in the military and participated in the civil rights movement. This led Jennifer to sponsor HB 836, which helps immigrant families stay together in the face of systemic separation.
As a lawyer at Winston and Strawn, Jennifer partnered with the National Immigrant Justice Center to represent victims of child trafficking and forced marriage. As a founding member and co-chair of the Illinois Unaccompanied Children’s Task Force, Jennifer advocated for systemic changes to courtroom procedures involving vulnerable children. These experiences led Jennifer to the Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic where, as the first Director of the immigration law practice, she developed the capacity, policies and procedures to meet the needs of Dreamers and other low income residents of the community.
Gun violence is an epidemic and, to Jennifer, it’s personal. Domestic violence and guns are American crises that end approximately 50 women’s lives every month. Jennifer’s family is among those who have experienced this horrifying statistic firsthand, losing her first cousin and her two children when they were murdered by their father. Jennifer will demand common sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of abusers and other violent individuals, and she’ll fight to keep dangerous weapons of war off our streets. She knows it’s time to turn tragedy and loss into action, which led her to support multiple pieces of gun safety legislation in her first term.
Jennifer is committed to ensuring that the ladders to success are available to every child in Illinois. She served as a board member of the Glenview Education Foundation where she supported investments in STEM projects to promote science and technology learning in D34 public schools. Jennifer is a member of the Social Justice Committee of Northfield’s Temple Jeremiah and an active supporter of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Jennifer’s life experience and family background give her a unique ability to build connections and find common ground among different perspectives. She knows that our democracy thrives when all voices have equal opportunity to be heard. As state representative, Jennifer will bring those voices into the ongoing debate on critical issues in Illinois. Solutions to seemingly intractable problems will be resolved only if lawmakers are willing to see past differences and work together.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
International Human Rights Law
Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic
Winston and Strawn
Glenview Education Foundation
UN World Refugee Day
Chicago Bar Association