#MemberMondays – Spotlight on Lolita Hughes

Posted: July 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

We are proud to feature Lolita Hughes for #MemberMondays!

Did you know Chicago’s first woman Plumbing Inspector is Englewood resident and proud R.A.G.E. member Lolita Hughes!? Well, now you do!  Her road to becoming a Chicago Plumbing Inspector was challenging, especially as a woman tradesman, but her determination to succeed helped her persevere and R.A.G.E. is definitely proud of her! 

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After completing a five-year plumbing apprenticeship program in 2003, Lolita became a plumber and started working for the city in 2011. A few years later, she took the test for the Inspector position and although the City doesn’t reveal the final test scores, it was rumored that Lolita scored perfect! Lolita credits her time studying Criminal Justice at Chicago State University and later receiving her Associates Degree from Kennedy King College for showing what she can personally achieve by being disciplined.

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Lolita and her 77 yr old Dad, Clarence, who lives with her.

Lolita hasn’t always called Englewood home. She graduated from King High School in 1986 and grew up in Bronzeville’s Robert Taylor public housing after her mother lost their home. Like any child at the time, Lolita didn’t know her mother’s finances or understand how she lost their home but she clearly remembers that it drastically changed her life. Those memories eventually fueled Lolita’s passion for financial independence, homeownership, and community investment. “Becoming a plumber for the City was the best decisions I made in my life,” says Lolita. “The low-paying bank job I had before kept me in a unhealthy marriage and becoming financially independent gave me the confidence and strength to move on.” As a Board Member of the Chicago Women in Trade organization for the last two years, Lolita considers it an honor to do outreach encouraging women to become an employed tradesman and teach them the opportunity it offers to learn a life-long skill and a meaningful salary regardless of your education or even criminal background. “I know a woman carpenter who said McDonalds wouldn’t even hire her because she had a criminal background and now, because of the trades, she helps build McDonald’s all around the city,” recalls Lolita.   

IMG-2394Community investment and homeownership is just as important to Lolita as women gaining financial independence. Once she bought her home in Englewood in 2007, she wanted to learn more about positive events and activities happening Englewood beside the negative stories she constantly heard on the news and from others. It was then she came across a DNA info article about R.A.G.E and decided to investigae R.A.G.E. further. She later went to her first R.A.G.E. Village Meeting and met co-founder Aysha Butler. “Aysha’s passion and positivity is infectious,” says Lolita. “I became a member because I felt like RAGE was really trying to help the community and that alone helped me changed my vision about Englewood and the community. It really gave me the little hope I needed to stay here and make a difference.” Now, Lolita owns two vacant lots in Englewood and  thanks RAGE’s Village Meetings plus fellow member, Tina Hammond, for informing her about the $1 Large Lot program. “RAGE and Tina encouraged me and directed me to resources to help ensure I secured the lots,” said Lolita. Even though Lolita’s work schedule prevents her from attending the Housing & Public Spaces Task Force meetings, she says she truly appreciates being a member of the task force and receiving valuable information. “We must come together in some kind of aspect to help each other and our community, she says. “Its not just about you, its about your children and grandchildren and making it easier for them.”

When Lolita isn’t busy working or advocating for women tradesmen, she enjoys running, spending time with father, Clarence, her adult children, Walter, 25 and Washema, 30 and her two grand-daughters;  Kaden, 4, and 5 months old Kaaliyah.

Thank you Lolita Hughes for your dedication to the Greater Englewood community!

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Comments
  1. jerry nelson says:

    Awesome !!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Abraxas Thomas says:

    She needs be be added to someone’s curriculum for Women’s History Month. This is HUGE! Congratulations Lolita.

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