Hello, my name is Shawna Black and I hope to be your choice for Tompkins County Legislator District 11, the east side of the Town of Ithaca. I have lived in Ithaca for 21 years and have worked locally at Cornell University, Brookdale Senior Living (Alterra), TCAT, and most recently, the Southern Tier AIDS Program. I currently work part-time and am responsible for STAP’s Corporate Compliance Program.  

I live with my partner of twenty years, Margot Chiuten, and our three children – Graem (12), Emerson (8), and Keane (5). My children attend the local public schools and I am active in the school community. Emerson and Keane participate in the Ithaca Youth Hockey Association and keep us busy through the winter months. I have been a long-time fan of the Cornell Women’s and Men’s Hockey teams and attend games in my spare time.

For the past five years I have coached my oldest daughter’s softball team through the Ithaca Youth Bureau. I enjoy teaching kids the basics of softball and also supporting the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s Dessie Jacobs Program.

My political activity goes back to volunteering on the Bill Clinton campaign, while a freshman in college. Most recently, I was part of the canvassing team for Bernie Sanders. When Bernie lost the primary, I then supported Hillary Clinton.

After the most recent election, I saw a posting for the The Women’s March in Washington, DC. I was the one who started the conversation about organizing buses to DC, at first for a few friends and my family. Within a week’s time I had organized 8 buses with 412 passengers that went to Washington DC on January 21, 2017 to participate in the historical Women’s March on DC. I was honored to be a part of the march and our community.

In the early morning hours I started the Facebook group Rise Up Ithaca to organize volunteers and activists alike in response to the 2016 election and other concerns regarding race, equality and the economy that rose to the forefront of our lives. The group currently has approximately 1,700 local members with the goal of connecting local people to local events and actions. Rise Up Ithaca serves as a hub for information to people in our area.   

The reason I have decided to run for Legislator is that I believe my generation has been passive in the political process. We have taken for granted that our liberties and rights would be protected.   This most recent presidential election it has been a huge awakening to us all.

I feel it is my calling to represent and serve the people of District 11. I appreciate the fine example from our past legislators and look to build upon the foundation they have provided.

As a parent of three children I understand what the struggles are for a young family that lives in Tompkins County. Between healthcare costs, property taxes, and daycare costs – many families are struggling.   

These are just a few of the issues that we will see in the upcoming Tompkins County Legislative sessions. I look forward to speaking with you in the near future to discuss how I can represent your interests in the Legislature. I’m excited about the next step and I hope I will win your support to serving as your District 11 representative.