Getting To Know Mayor Lovely Warren; A Trailblazing Leader Within Our City

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Che with Mayor Warren in City Hall. 5/8/17. Photo: Michele Ashlee. See also Michele gives us the story of Joe

You first met Che in Rochester works for actor Che Holloway, an impromptu interview and amble through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

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Che with Mayor Warren in City Hall. 5/8/17. Photo: Michele Ashlee. See also Michele gives us the story of Joe

An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!

Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 60 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.

For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews

Yesterday was an exciting day for Che as he visited with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in City Hall. With Che was Michele Ashlee who took the beautiful portraits.  (See Michele gives us the story of Joe )

You’ve met Mayor Warren on numerous occasions.

In March 2015, she was at Robert Brown High School for a recreation of the 1960 Woolworth lunch counter sit ins.

In November 2015, Mayor Warren met with students at the 2nd Rochester Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair at the Riverside Convention Center.

In April 2016, she read Lucille Clifton’s “Blessings of the Boat” at the University of Rochester.

She was at the 2016 Memorial Day parade.

And, finally, in March 2017, Mayor Warren offered support at the memorial service outside Charlotte Lahr’s store on South Avenue.

Getting To Know Mayor Lovely Warren; A Trailblazing Leader Within Our City

In this highlight we turn our attention to Mayor Lovely Warren, a Rochester native and a prominent leader who has brought positive change to both our community and to our city. I recently was fortunate enough to meet and sit down with Mayor Warren and had an extremely positive and informative experience. Mayor Warren truly embodies her first name, as she is one of the most loveliest, down to earth leaders I have ever met.

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Che with Mayor Warren in City Hall. 5/8/17. Photo: Michele Ashlee. See also Michele gives us the story of Joe

I asked Mayor Lovely Warren a series of questions. Here are her responses.

What inspired you to get involved in your community, what led you to being Mayor? Early experiences worth sharing?

When I was in college, I had an opportunity to do an internship in New York State Assembly and I was assigned to assembly man David Gant, who was the first African American elected to State Office from Rochester, N.Y. and that is where I learned public service. That is where I learned about taking care of the community, just being mentored by David Gant was inspiring. When I came back home from Alabany Law School, I saw a lot of things happening in the community that I loved, and some of those challenges were disheartening and I wanted to do something about it because I care about Rochester and I care about the people who live here.

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Mayor Warren speaking at the People’s Solidarity Rally in Washington Square Park, January 22, 2017. Photo provided by Che. SEE In Washington Square Park remembering the first March for Woman’s Lives, April 1989

Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.

I’ve often talked about my father having experiences with drug use when I was around 13-14 years old and how that had impacted my life. I had a health issue back when I was in law school that was very challenging as well, and I had to overcome that. One of the biggest things that you could ever overcome is a loss. I ran for City Council back in 2005 first, and I lost by seven votes. Being able to take that loss with votes being really close, was very challenging. Sometimes you have to wait for a better opportunity and recognize that maybe it’s just not your time. My grandmother was alive then, and when I went to her she told me, “It’s just not your time, when it’s your time, you will know.” I can tell you when it was my time, I knew. So I think that those three things significantly impacted my life and taught me to accept the things I cannot change and change the things that I could. I had to develop the wisdom to know the difference between the two. I also go by this as well, “change the things I can no longer accept.” This is the reason I decided to run for Mayor.

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Photo provided by Che

Do you have other interests or hobbies?

I like to read, I like non fiction but I LOVE fiction. I love to listen to music and different genres of music because it can put you in a certain mood and it has the ability to take you where you want to go, WHEN you want to go. If you need to cry, then there is music that can help take you to that place of vulnerability, if you need to find something uplifting and empowering, it’s out there. That’s what music does for me. Whenever I’m going through a challenge or getting ready to go through something intense, I will play music to help me get through it.

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(l-r) David Kramer, Lovley Warren, Dr. David Anderson [Photo: Dana Miller] From On the Memorial Day Parade and The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam

I love to spend time with my family, I really enjoy spending time with both my daughter and husband, hosting family game nights, kicking back, playing the Nintendo Wii, taking the family to Skyzone and Altitude, letting my hair down and laughing with my cousins, my family really gets me together after a long day.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to have just completed my second term in office and have made a significant change and difference within both the community and throughout the city of Rochester.

What advice can you give to aspiring individuals who want to run for office in the future?

I would say there is a difference between being a politician and being a public servant. In 2005, this was a lesson I learned. When your in elected office, it is about the people you serve. You have to recognize that you are there to serve the people, ALL of the people, and you need to represent them. Even when you may not agree with some positions, you need to be able to articulate the reasons why and at least be in a position where you can speak to the issues that are concerning the community that you are serving.

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Mayor Warren (center) preparing the balloons for the March 8th memorial service outside Charlotte Lahr’s store on South Avenure. From Charlotte Lahr (1970 – 2017)

Stepping outside of yourself and putting the needs of others first is extremely important and if you can’t do that, I would say you should go into another profession. I believe the best public servants are those who represent the PEOPLE, regardless of what their personal views may be to the fullest of their ability. Never give up, get involved within the community, even if it is on a smaller scale. Start reaching out, we all know someone in need of help or guidance and if you can be that shining light for individuals, then be that. Start WHEREVER you are, one of my biggest pet peeves is litter.

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Photo provided by Che

If everyone just took their own block and say to themselves, “I’m not going to accept this on my block anymore.” We would change the mindset and culture in our people and in our children, that this is not acceptable. It would also give a sense of pride within the community, when you can look around and see the flowers and see it look good. Start wherever you are.

How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?

We have a lot of social media, you can always go to www.cityofrochester.gov you can always go to the Mayors Facebook page, I have my own personal page and we also have twitter, I don’t personally have twitter, but we do have a page. Also there is www.mayorlovelywarren.com

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What Maritza Buitrago can and cannot say on the electoral road.