Meet Erika

Erika is an advocate and passionate about standing up for the working class. In Washington, she will be a voice for every person in our district. She is a mom of three amazing young people, who in turn are her biggest supporters.


Like so many of you, Erika felt disconnected from and disenchanted with the current political climate. She  felt ignored, and discounted, yet experience has taught her the best way to change is to roll up her sleeves and get to work.


After years of working in multiple call centers, and abrupt change in circumstances, Erika found herself homeless with her three small children. After enduring nearly a year of housing insecurity, Erika secured an apartment and temporary employment. It was then that she decided to focus on transitioning her family out of the cycle of poverty. In 2005, Erika and her children moved to Coles County, and she enrolled in classes at Lake Land College. While working a myriad of student-employment positions, Erika completed an Associate’s degree in Business Administration, and then transferred to Eastern Illinois University to earn a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, Sports, & Recreation and then, a Master's degree in College Student Affairs. 


Upon completing her graduate studies, Erika returned to Lake Land College where she served as a  member of the faculty and as an Academic Counselor.  Because she still dreamed of becoming an attorney, she applied for and accepted admission into Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Erika could not afford to relocate her family to the Chicagoland area,.  She knew that earning her law degree would change the trajectory for her family, so she commuted the 184 miles from Mattoon to Chicago over the next three years. This meant three years of sleeping on couches, floors, and in borrowed spaces.


During her last semester of law school, Erika ran and was elected to the Mattoon CUSD2 Board of Education. After law school, she worked a post-graduate legal fellowship with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, as well as a part-time employee in a local factory. While working two jobs, she studied for the bar exam. After receiving her license to practice law in Illinois, Erika briefly worked in private practice before landing a position in the Coles County Public Defender’s office. 


Erika shares many of the lived experiences of people in our district. She knows firsthand the struggle to balance limited finances, provide for a family, and work hard to move into a better position. Her decision to run for office was not based on her struggles, but the resiliency and perseverance to overcome them. She entered this race because she wants every family to have the opportunity to create and define their American Dream, but without the hardships she endured. Her campaign reflects and embodies her life, her work, and her heart for service.


Erika’s approach to the issues facing our district is unique and an outgrowth of her personal and professional experiences. 





  • Children’s Legal Rights Journal – Solicitations Editor

  • Cultural Impact Initiative – Director of Resolutions

  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association – Student Ambassador

  • Public Interest Law Reporter – Staff Writer

  • Women’s Law Society – Social Chair

  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice – Executive Board Member

  • Mattoon Community Unit School District 2 School Board Member (Elected 2017)

  • American Association of Single Parents Board Member (2018 - 2019)

  • CASA of East Central Illinois Executive Board Member (2018 - 2019)

  • Collegiate tee shirt drive for Jenner Academy of the Arts students (2016)

  • Coles CASA Advocate of the Year Award, (April 2015)

  • Constitutional Day participant (2015)

  • Sociology 286 – “Racial and Ethnic Groups” Guest speaker (2014)

  • National TRiO Day panel member and workshop presenter (2014)

  • Candidate for Mattoon Community School District #2 School Board (2013)

  • Community Curriculum Coordinating Committee for Mattoon Community School District

    (2013- 2014)


  • Dean’s List spring 2016, fall 2016

  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association Fall Book Scholarship Award (2016)

  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association First Place Spring Essay Scholarship Award (2017)

  • Norman C. Amaker Scholarship recipient (2016-2017)

  • Michael J. Perona Memorial Scholarship recipient (2016-2017)

  • Cook County Bar Association Scholarship recipient (spring 2015, 2017)

  • Center for Conflict Resolution, Certified Mediator (certified September 2016)

  • Court Approved Mediator – Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Judicial Circuits

  • Substitute Teaching Certificate – Regional Office of Education #11 (2010 - present)