Chakena D. Perry
Chakena D. Perry is a voting rights champion and environmental policy advocate. In January 2022, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker appointed Perry to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board of Commissioners to fill a vacancy once held by former MWRD Commissioner Deb Shore. She is the youngest MWRD Commissioner and youngest countywide elected official in Cook County – the 2nd most populous county in the U.S.
Chakena grew up in a working-class household in the Back of the Yards and Ashburn neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side. A graduate of Chicago Public Schools, she became the first in her family to graduate college. Chakena earned her B.A. in History at Connecticut College as a Posse Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship Recipient and Holleran Center for Community Action Scholar. She served as Young Alumni Trustee on Connecticut College’s Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2019. In 2022, she earned her M.A. in Public Policy at the University of Chicago and currently serves as a Harris School Alumni Admissions Ambassador.
From high school to her professional career, she has fought to make government more accessible and equitable for everyday people who are often left out of the process. Her passion for equity and justice inspired her and her husband to start a nonprofit organization titled, Black Millennial Renaissance: a network of Black millennials and their allies fighting to end systemic racism. She is also a board member of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action and formerly served as President of the Chicago Votes Action Fund and Chairwoman of the Cook County Young Democrats.
She has received various honors and awards for her advocacy, including the Posse Foundation’s Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award, WE Will “Young Woman of the Year,” Chicago Scholars “35 under 35” Honoree, Quad City Urban League’s Women’s Empowerment Honoree, 2nd Annual Chicago Women’s March Speaker and the White House “State of Women” participant.
Chakena is the proud wife of Christian Perry and resides in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago with their son and dog.
DEFYING NEW BOUNDARIES
Our founding was an act of defiance, and for more than a century, Connecticut College has sought to inspire students to challenge assumptions and dare to believe in their dreams. With the support of alumni, parents and friends everywhere, the Defy Boundaries Campaign is taking this investment in student possibilities further than ever before.