MEET CERISSA

MEET
CERISSA

Vote for me & you WILL be heard.

My story has a lot in common with many people in Birmingham.

I was born in Mulga, in a family that moved a lot around the city, with my father (a “jack of all trades”) working on and off. My mother is the hardest worker I have ever known, taking care of us, babysitting the neighborhood children, and teaching Sunday School at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.

There were tough times. I was the oldest of three girls: me, Martine, and Darcel. Martine died from SIDS, and my baby sister Darcel was born with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia and died at the age of five when I was eight. For much of my life, it was me and my mother, getting us by as a housekeeper on five dollars an hour. I didn’t realize how poor we were until one day in high school I snuck and read her journal.

But love and the community got us through. I loved 5 Points West and remember my Tee and Granny taking me there to shopping at Parisians. I loved when the fair would come to town at the fairgrounds, and when we used to drive through the Southside, I would see the old buildings, and I would always tell my mom I would live there someday. The highlight of our week was attending New Covenant Bible Baptist Church and eventually New City Church, every Wednesday and Sunday.

Hard work has been my life. From my first job at 13, I have always been drawn to service: to making people feel heard, to understand their issues, and to stop at nothing until I get answers. I am mental health advocate and passionate about mental health and our neighbors experiencing homelessness. I will never stop listening to the most vulnerable.

From my role as director of the Birminghan Chapter of the Little Black Dress Club for business women, to my work for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama, to my passion for entrepreneurship, I know the power of business to lift communities. I know how businesses operate from the inside out, and I’m grateful that when I saw the need for feminine hygiene products this year, I was able to secure a business sponsorship to deliver supplies to First Light Shelter.

Running for mayor was never on my radar. But when my calls to the current mayor were ignored, I found out lots of us feel the same way: regular people, sidelined by the powers that be. There’s a lack of transparency in the city, and residents don’t feel like anybody is listening.

Like every parent, I want my daughter to live in a city that’s safe at night. I want her to be able to make a good living wage or more, so she won’t have to leave the city of Birmingham. I want her one day to feel that here is a place to raise kids of her own, with vibrant neighborhoods and opportunities.

And that’s why I am stepping up.

I’m not a politician. And that’s a good thing. Because here’s what I know: the moment you start listening to people, you unlock ideas, energy, and momentum. From my parents I learned in the power of work and to fight for what I believe in. And I believe in the people of Birmingham.