Joseph Woods’ journey of service to the Village of Park Forest has been an organic process— from the community’s Poet Laureate, to Library Board Trustee, to Village Trustee in 2019. Joe says it’s been an honor to work alongside many committed and civic-minded leaders during that journey.
A career in public and community service has prepared Joe to serve as Mayor of Park Forest. During his current term as Village Trustee, he has chaired the Census Committee and serves as Trustee Liaison to the Economic Development Advisory Group and the Police and Fire Advisory Group. As Mayor, if successful, he will work to establish a sustainable budget, protect our environment, promote ethical government, and ensure that Park Forest remains a vibrant, livable community for our residents.
Trustee Woods states, “More personally, this Village has re-ignited in me a profound sense of community. It has granted me and my family the gifts afforded only by a community so proud of its history, and so concerned about its future, that it seeks to re-define and re-invent itself. I believe it is imperative that we realize a new vision, for in the end, it is not what I can accomplish, but what we can accomplish!”
Joe is a product of Quigley North High School, Loyola University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, the Park Forest Civic Leadership Academy—and his mother, Doris, who “knitted his pattern of thought with grandma’s hands.”
He honorably served three administrations of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, advocating for the rights of consumers, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, veterans, and victims of crime, and was subsequently elected President of Local 4408 American Federation of Teachers for the Attorney General Northern District. He also chaired the Diversity Training Committee and the Process Improvement Committee for the Attorney General’s Office—as well as co-chaired the We Care Role Model Program, a mentorship program sponsored by the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Police Department.
As a professional writer, editor, public speaker, certified paralegal, and CEO of The Write Style Media Group, Joe desires to foster the responsibility of the written word, and thus further expand the possibilities of expression. He is a prolific writer of multiple dimensions and works in a variety of formats. His works are described as “compelling . . . their impact profound and lasting,” and are renowned for his humorous blending of the realities of life towards social justice.
He is a humble recipient of the Illinois Humanities Service Award, the Illinois Emerging Writers Award, the Langston Hughes Poetry Award, the Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Award, the James Joyce Society Award, the Florence Cunningham Poet Laureate Award, and 2018/2022 Community Oscars Award for Spoken Word, and Government Service, respectively.