Haunting the Echoes of our Ancestors: History Represents Rita Ali’s Voice in a New Era

Robin Brandy and Rita
Robin Grantham, Brandy Bryant and Rita Ali

Joining the ranks of her ancestors, City Councilwoman-at-large elect Rita Ali is reflective of excellence, despite encountering pockets of adversity. Ali has shown grace, among glory, and strives to be on the right side of history as a representative of the people.  Representing the pulse of the city, Ali’s political background addresses policies and reform in Peoria.  Once underestimated by several, Ali navigated her way through a complicated path to emerge as a winner at large.

The backbone of her life strength comes from her parents, Robert and Nora Bryant.  Ali also credits her sister Robin Grantham for her watchful eye and wise discernment. Her loyal daughter, Brandy Bryant, served as her campaign manager. And so as they enter a new plateau in life, rebirth has claimed the narrative of this family’s lives and has written a brazen chapter of forthcoming change.

Rita Ali’s Victory Speech on April 2, 2019:

WOW! You all look so amazing. I’ve been waiting two and a half years for this moment.

At Last!

All thanks and praise to Almighty God. And all thanks to each of you. This is not my win; this is OUR win!

Two years ago when I ran for the 5th District seat on City Council, as we neared the end of the election and on election day – I tried really hard to write a victory speech and, as a backup, to also write a concession speech. But each time – the words wouldn’t come. They were not in me. They just wouldn’t come. Later, I came to understand why. That election night I was up by only three votes and we knew that wasn’t enough to call it mine. I wasn’t a winner or a loser that night – so I couldn’t make a victory or a concession speech. And as you know, I ultimately lost by one vote.

But this time, my friends, I was able to write a short speech. And I only wrote one – and I can tell you it’s not a concession speech.

I am so very proud to become your At-Large City Councilwoman.

My father told me one day – he said, “Rita, you are a finisher.” I said, “What Dad?” He said, “You are a finisher – you finish what you start.” That has always been special to me because there are times when I want to quit something and those words help me to push forward. Dad passed away this past October so he didn’t get to witness me crossing the finish line, but his spirit is here with me and I thank he and my mother for all that they’ve poured into me.

Peoria is a city that is rich in diversity. We have people from many, many cultures and ways of life. We have people from different races and ethnicities, different religions, different genders, different incomes, political affiliations, ages, and beliefs. But we’re all Peorians. I am proud to know that my supporters are black, white, brown, Christian, Muslim, Hindu; they are rich, poor and somewhere in between, LGBTQ, they are old, young, and my age. It’s all relative guys.

As your Councilwoman, I will work to develop greater respect and appreciation for difference in our city. For it is through this respect and appreciation that we will begin to address issues of equity – enabling everyone in our city the opportunity to reach their full potential and enjoy success. That really is the key message that I want to leave with you tonight – that I am committed to building a stronger Peoria by building Strong People. Strong People build strong economies. Strong People build strong schools. Strong People create safe neighborhoods. Strong People find common ground to accomplish great things Together. It’s going to take all of us. Thank you and God Bless You!

[Rita then thanked her daughter and campaign manager, Brandy Bryant, and many others by name including Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth, Senator David Koehler, and Attorney Leo Ghantous]