Community activist Markese Terrell hopes to bring different perspectives, voices to Beloit City Council

    Markese Terrell with students at the Youth Boxing Program at Rojas Boxing Gym a few years ago. (Photo supplied)

    Markese Terrell has announced that he is running for Beloit City Council this upcoming election with the hopes of bringing some of his unique life experiences and perspectives to the table. Elections will take place in April of 2022.

    Terrell is the chairperson of the Beloit NAACP Education Committee and the vice-chair of the Beloit Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). As an engaged member of his community, he works at Merrill Elementary, where he once attended elementary school, as the In-School Support Coordinator. His goal, he says, is to address issues with poor housing in Beloit, along with keeping kids off the street and giving them ways to be productively active while they’re in and out of school.  

    “I was born in Beloit, Wisconsin,” Terrell told Madison365. “I worked at Frito Lay for about nine and a half years, almost a decade. And I left Frito Lay to go work for the school district here at Beloit, at Merrill Elementary. And I took a major pay cut doing that, but I love working with kids because I’m a community activist. I just wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives.

    “Beloit is very urban, there are a lot of urban neighborhoods here, especially in the Merrill community. And it took me losing some people to have to get involved and to want to work with kids the way that I did,” Terrell said. “I wanted to make sacrifices and do everything that I can, so I gave up my career at Frito Lay to go work with kids. I’m trying to lead them down the right path and be a role model.”

    Markese Terrell

    Terrell also works with students at Hackett Elementary School on the west side of Beloit. He works closely with youth in his neighborhood while they’re in school and after school hours where he runs a program that offers students YMCA memberships. In the past, he has worked with youth through a boxing program at Rojas Boxing Gym in Beloit. One of his goals is to bring more after-school activities and programming to youth in underrepresented communities in Beloit to keep them out of trouble and engaged in activities that they enjoy.  

    “I want to bring a different perspective to the council that isn’t being represented,” said Terrell. “I come from the most underrepresented neighborhood in the city of Beloit. We don’t have any kind of representation, especially Black representation. We don’t have much of that over there. We have Black leaders in the community over there, but they don’t get any kind of recognition from some of the city leaders. It took a whole lot of activism on my end, and from others, for us to even get that kind of attention and for them to even pay attention to what’s going on over here.”

    The last time Terrell ran for Beloit City Council, despite losing, the voter turnout in the Merrill Neighborhood tripled. This is why his activism is focused on inner-city neighborhoods. Other people running for office in local elections avoid canvassing that neighborhood because the voter turnout is so low. Terrell stated that there needs to be more city-wide support for local leaders in the inner cities and nationwide to tackle key issues that are affecting these neighborhoods. He is looking forward to this campaign and his work to continue uplifting and supporting the kids in his community.

    “This time around, I feel like I’ve got a good team around me,” said Terrell. “I feel like a lot more attention is being paid to the work that myself and other community leaders have been doing this whole time. I don’t do stuff like this for politics. I’m involved in this to really make a difference. I’m not trying to run for governor or U.S. Senate, or anything like that.  I really want to make a difference right here in my city.

    “We have to bring unique values to the city in order for all issues to be addressed throughout the entire city, and not just certain parts of the city,” he added. “That’s part of the reason why I wanted to come in and bring a voice that often feels rejected by people in the city.”


    For more information about Markese Terrell and his campaign for Beloit City Council, click here.