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Antonio DeLesline

Many voices are like a chorus that can’t be ignored

For Antonio DeLesline, it’s all about one thing: advocating for others. Antonio is originally from Charleston, South Carolina but decided to bring his love of political advocacy to Springfield in 1987, and then again in 2008. Antonio stays active in the Springfield community by volunteering as a Resident Health Advocate for Way Finders and working for the Springfield community as a Chairman of the Ward 4 Democratic Committee.

What community activism and advocacy are you involved in and how do you stay involved in advocating for better services even when life is already full of challenges?

Antonio, who considers himself an activist, is a Resident Health Advocate for Way Finders and a Chairman for Ward 4. His father is E. Henry Twiggs, a longtime political activist and City Council member in Springfield, which caused him to learn as a youngster that politics is in everything. Antonio believes that he has to be involved in the community because it’s in his DNA. He says that, “if you don’t participate in the process, you’re on the sidelines.”

What would be your advice to others who want to get active but don’t know how?

“Just jump in with both feet,” Antonio says. ” You are the community. You need to participate in things that involve your community. If you don’t care about your community, nobody else will. Voluntarily learn how to advocate. Eventually you’ll get bitten by the bug. Once you see you can make a difference, you get hooked. It’s not just for my community but advocating for myself as well. It hits home. There is strength in numbers; many voices are like a chorus that can’t be ignored. There are many opportunities. Volunteering is the easiest.”

Why is it important to be involved?

Antonio believes that the why is evident: look what isn’t getting done. He believes you have to be present, to let elected officials know what’s important. Being proactive versus reactive is key.

Any other thoughts?

The future and the community. The future looks bright to Antonio, but only if people can continue to get involved. Antonio believes that young people need to get on board, and that in order to reach the younger generation, better, more relevant communication is needed: email, text, digital in general.