Black & Powerful: Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Black & Powerful" is a long-form streaming series created by ABC 7 Chicago in which we sit down with leaders in government, entertainment, education, arts and more with hopes of inspiring people from all walks of life to achieve their goals.

Episode four features ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor/Reporter Karen Jordan and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

In a personal one-on-one interview, Raoul spoke about his upbringing in Chicago, his professional journey and how his father played an influential role in his work ethic.

"My father certainly instilled in me hard work, never quitting, embracing the policy positions that I embraced as state senator that I embrace now in the work that we do in the (Illinois) Attorney General's Office" Raoul said.

Raoul has faced incredible challenges helping the state navigate COVID-19, while battling it himself. He caught the disease during the summer of 2020, at the height of social unrest over the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

"It was an interesting time to be quarantined, and to spend a lot of time reflecting," Raoul said.

Part of his time reflecting involved reframing the narrative of what it means to be labeled an "angry Black man." He released a letter to his office, something Raoul said was an important moment.

"There's a lot to be angry about," Raoul said. "Yet, how I steer it and how I utilize the energy of that is the important thing. Not to just be angry, and not to lash out as a result of being angry, but to turn that into purpose and to action," Raoul said.

Kwame Raoul is one of seven Black attorneys general in the U.S. He explained the significance of his role in the work being done as a nation to address racial inequalities, social justice and police reform.

"To the extent that there's collective work amongst attorneys general, having a significant presence of African Americans within the room makes a difference," Raoul said.

Raoul said he took the position as Illinois attorney general to help influence change, and he's grateful to serve the people of Illinois.

Watch more episodes of Black & Powerful here.
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