Willie "J.R." Fleming is a seasoned community leader and human rights defender. His activism and organizing work began with the devastating impacts the demolition of public housing had on his community.
Organizing with groups such as the Chicago Coalition to Protect Public Housing, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and the Hip Hop Congress, J.R.’s dedication to enforcing human rights grew. In 2009 he served as the Chicago City Chair for the UN Human Right to Adequate Housing's official mission to the U.S.
Shortly after he co-founded the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) and currently serves as the Executive Director. In the AEC's first year alone, the organization built a dynamic city-wide Human Right to Housing Collective consisting of CHA tenants and families facing foreclosure. Their work grew nationally and they helped guide the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights serving as founding members of its Steering Committee.
At the state level, the AEC also won a temporary moratorium on "economically motivated" evictions in Cook County. The AEC helped tenants living in foreclosed properties stay in their homes by coordinating with banks to donate homes to Churches in the community. As Executive Director of the AEC, JR helps to coordinate foreclosure assistance and trainings with homeowners, tenants, community groups, and churches.
J.R. is also a national advocate for the Women’s Ex-offender Re-entry Program (CHA,HUD) and has been involved in several successful eviction defenses, among many other victories in struggles over the years.