Missouri State House, District 19
60637, that is the zip code where Phyllis Hardwick is from and when you Google that zip code, a few pieces of information will come up. First, her home zip code is one of the most dangerous in Chicago and secondly, the year she graduated, one out of every seven girls in her neighborhood high school was pregnant or already a mom. What Phyllis wish would pop up on Google is Ms Toni, her neighbor that made her lemon meringue pies on her birthday. Or Ms Riopelle, her 6th grade teacher who instilled in Phyllis that beyond reading stories, she could craft her own. Hardwick is a product of a community whose strength was rooted in collectivism. Phyllis learned that by working together a community could create different outcomes for their kids and community. So giving back to neighborhoods like the one she grew up in wasn’t simply a desire, it was an expectation.
Phyllis moved to Kansas City with that expectation in mind. She started teaching at Northeast Middle, a public school in this district. Hardwick has spent over a decade engaged in grassroots efforts to improve education, workforce development and the working environment of women. That journey has taken her from the classroom to the boardroom, however her commitment to community and improving the lives of the most disadvantaged populations has remained at the center of her work and for these reasons she is seeking office.