Rebecca Janowitz is a proud 43rd ward resident with decades of experience in public safety, violence prevention, education, infrastructure and community engagement. She has received the Leadership Award from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. She is a graduate of Loyola University Law School and University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
After law school, Rebecca began working to help low-income and underserved communities, including Native Americans, to understand their legal rights and access legal services.
She served as a volunteer Attorney with the VISTA program through the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago, and as a staff attorney with South Dakota Legal Services. She also volunteered with reading programs throughout Chicagoland, including at the Ida B. Wells Homes. Working with people facing incredible hardship – and helping them overcome challenges – inspired her career in law and government.
Rebecca became a partner at the law firm of Pecquet and Janowitz, where she represented numerous clients including small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She then served as Special Assistant in Chicago’s Fourth Ward Aldermanic office, spending six years focused on constituent services, public safety, housing, education, economic development, traffic and infrastructure. She was part of a strong coalition opposing the demolition of numerous historic buildings.
Rebecca then focused specifically on education – and creating opportunities for students – as Coordinator for Special Projects for Chicago Public Schools. Her work touched nearly all key areas of education in Chicago, including coordinating staff support for a diverse array of schools and neighborhoods.
Janowitz then spent the next fourteen years of her career focused on criminal justice, violence prevention and public safety issues, through service at the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and then the Cook County Justice Advisory Council as Special Assistant for Legal Affairs.
She helped oversee the distribution of millions of grant dollars to community organizations working in the areas of violence prevention, recidivism reduction and restorative justice. Through this role, she established strong working relationships with a wide range of organizations committed to public safety. She was the driving force behind the design and implementation of Cook County’s Career Launch program, a summer job-training and violence-prevention initiative aimed at at-risk youth and young adults. She also led efforts to obtain grant dollars for Cook County’s court system to improve and expand its specialty drug court programming.
Rebecca has served on the Board of the Children’s Book Fair since its inception and speaks at monthly forums organized by 43rd ward residents. She is married to Daniel Silverfarb and has two children who share her passion for community engagement. She is also the author of Culture of Opportunity: Obama’s Chicago, an innovative book about how the community helped inspire and inform President Obama and his Presidency.Throughout her decades-long career, Rebecca has worked with hundreds of community leaders and stakeholders who have helped her understand the complexity of problems facing our neighborhoods and our city. Her work has been collaborative and inclusive. As Alderman, she will always evaluate information and perspectives from residents and stakeholder groups prior to making a decision. She will be a fair and accessible Alderman for everyone in our community.