ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Former State Representative Chuck Jefferson is still fighting for positive change in the local community.

Church Jefferson became interested in politics after working as a campaign manager for Charles Box, Rockford’s first black mayor in the 1980’s.

Jefferson then served as 67th district representative for 14 years. Now, he’s an advocate for the state’s longest running community center and says he’s proud of the fact that he always made himself available to his constituents.

“I expanded the office hours to make sure I was inclusive to people who couldn’t normally get to the office. Just invited people in. People used to come in through my office like it was no big deal. They walk in and they get immediate service,” Jefferson explained.

During his time in office, Jefferson is credited with securing funding for numerous projects and programs in Rockford, including support for the state’s longest running community center.

Booker Washington Community Center, now known as the African-American Resource Center, at Booker has been open for nearly 104 years

“He has served this community as he has served this center very well. He’s brought a lot of dollars to the center as well. And keeping it open when it would have possibly been shut down. He helped to keep it open so you have to give homage to that and be thankful,” Joyce Higgins, Executive Director of the resource center, said.

.Jefferson was honored by the center with a new library named the Chuck Jefferson Research Library of African American History and Culture. Jefferson supports senior programming at Booker and stays active in the community.

Jefferson says it’s a pleasure to be helpful to his community, no matter what the matter is.

“I go into grocery stores today and people stop me and say ‘How do I do this?’
or ‘What do I need to do to do this?'” Jefferson explained. “I’m like, I’m not the state representative anymore. And they are like, ‘No, but you know.'”

“I still help people as best I can and you know, it’s been a joy,” he continued.

A tribute to Jefferson will be held on Tuesday the 25th at African-American Resource Center at noon.


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