Seventeen years ago, Dr. Joy P. West bonded with her Links Inc. sister, Juliana Wiggins Stratton, over motherhood and educational issues. She never imagined that she would witness history when her sister-friend would be sworn into office as the first African American Lieutenant Governor in Illinois history.
“We now have a seat at the table, and I am excited about it,” said Dr. Joy P. West, a staff physician for 15 years at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago who attended the 43rd Illinois Inauguration on January 14th in Springfield. “She is a very strong sister who is encouraging and positive. I was overcome with her speech. I was very moved.”
Stratton, 53, has held past positions including running her own law firm for more than 20 years. The Chicagoan is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and DePaul Law School.
West received a phone call to attend the inauguration and left at 6 am to bear witness to history, joining her Links sisters.
“I have known Juliana for some time now, and I can truly say that she is for the people of Illinois. She is a boots on the ground and hands in the dirt type of woman,” said West. Stratton is seeking to use her knowledge and past experiences in a new office, which would focus on economics and criminal justice.
“She knows the challenges of the people and wants to represent underserved people. When she came to Roseland Community Hospital last summer, she was sincere when listening to the concerns of the residents. She understood that many residents cannot go to a hospital elsewhere. They need access to quality health care right in their own community,” said West.
Stratton’s base is broad and far-reaching within the African American community. She is a new member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, and The Links Inc.
“During her speech, she paid homage to her family members who paved the way for her to be where she is today. She was very humble as she told her family story. I was proud of her,” said West.