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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Commissioner Chakena D. Perry’s last Board of Commissioners meeting was December 1.

Commissioner Perry was appointed in January 2022 by Governor JB Pritzker to fill the vacancy created when Commissioner Debra Shore departed for the U.S. EPA Region V Administrator post. She was the youngest member of the Board. Prior to the appointment, Commissioner Perry served as an aide to MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita from 2018 to 2021 and co-supported various initiatives, including the Million Gallon Challenge and Asian Carp Challenge to promote water reuse and sustainability, along with the development of the Mamas Caucus, Asian American Caucus, and Asian Lunar New Year events.

Commissioner Perry is committed to equity, environmental justice and fighting climate change to help lift up communities across Chicago and have a positive impact across Cook County.

While at the MWRD she contributed to the development of the MWRD’s first environmental justice definition, land use policy updates, and affirmative action ordinance updates. She emceed the Robbins Stormwater Park and Midlothian Creek Restoration Project groundbreaking ceremony, featuring U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; she was a featured speaker for President Joe Biden’s Building a Better America event to share ways the historic bipartisan infrastructure bills impacted MWRD’s ability to support individuals and families in Illinois; she was a panelist for the 3rd Annual InfraDay Conference to discuss MWRD’s climate resiliency efforts; she partnered with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to host grant-seeking workshops with local municipalities and she participated in more than a dozen community partnerships and events to promote recycling, canopy restoration, monarch butterfly protection, and water education.

Commissioner Perry has received many honors, including Secretary of State Jesse White’s Community Highlight, 2022; Posse Foundation Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award, 2020; Chicago Scholars 35 under 35 Award Leadership, 2020; We WILL Young Woman of the Year, 2020 and Quad County Urban League’s Women’s Empowerment Award. She served on a variety of Boards, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action; Chicago Votes Action Fund (Board President); and Cook County Young Democrats (Chairwoman). She also cofounded the Black Millennial Renaissance. She received her M.A. in Public Policy from The University of Chicago in 2022 and B.A. in History from Connecticut College.

“As a young, Black woman from the South Side of Chicago and resident of the Southland, I brought my full self into my role as Commissioner,” said Commissioner Perry. “From environmental justice to civic engagement, I hope my authenticity and love for this work will leave a lasting impact on Cook County residents. They deserve the best we have to offer.”

“It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside Commissioner Perry the past few years,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “I look forward to seeing where her energy, knowledge and enthusiasm take her in the coming years.”

22_1202_Chakena D. Perry departs.pdf

Press Release
Awards and Announcements

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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