Activist community

Community activist Ja’Mal Green joins Chicago mayoral race

In April 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot took to Twitter to shoot down what she called “homophobic, racist and misogynistic rumors” about her personal life that community activist Ja’Mal Green helped spread.

In a tweet for which he has long apologized, Green said, “Lori Lightfoot is stepping down tomorrow in a stunning end to her position as mayor.”

Now Green is trying again to end “his mayoral job” – joining the growing number of candidates seeking to turn Lightfoot into a one-man term.

Green said he had “grown up a lot” since dropping out of the 2019 mayoral race – before a challenge to his nomination petitions could throw him out of the ballot for lack of signatures – and endorsing Lightfoot on the Cook County Council Chairman Toni Preckwinkle in the April 2019 runoff.

“We’ve done an amazing job since then in terms of being on the front line for the community. Whether it’s fighting Chase Bank and getting $1 billion for red online communities or raising millions for small businesses during the pandemic. When the businesses were looted, I collected $250,000 and distributed it to the businesses. More than the city has done in the same time,” said Green, who turns 27 in August.

“We need to energize a whole new electorate. The vast majority of people do not vote. We need a candidate who can change that.

Green flatly denied his decision to spread this false rumor about Lightfoot’s impending resignation which exposed him as someone who lacks the maturity to serve as mayor of Chicago.

“I made a misjudgment in a tweet. I didn’t expect this tweet to go viral. I wasn’t the first person to say it. It was a rumor started by thousands of people . … People took it at face value. I apologized for that. I spoke to the mayor at the time. Apologized to her. That’s in the past,” he said. .

Activist Ja’Mal Green speaks at a press conference outside Chicago police headquarters in 2016.

Green’s entry makes them six black candidates in the field. The others: Lightfoot; millionaire businessman Willie Wilson; Aldus. Roderick Sawyer (6th), son of former mayor Eugene Sawyer (6th); State Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago); and Chicago Police Officer Frederick Collins.

At least two other African Americans – Ald. Sophia King (4th) and State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) – are considering joining the mayoral race.

The estate also includes former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Ald. Ray Lopez (15th).

The more a black vote diminished by population losses becomes divided, the harder it will be for Lightfoot to win a large enough share of it to offset the expected losses among North Lake voters. Those voters gave him strong support in 2019, but grew disillusioned with his record of reform and transparency.

Green argued Lightfoot didn’t deserve a second chance, citing Chicago’s “epidemic” of violent crime. He needs a new type of leader “who understands the city to a point where they can… decrease [crime] dramatically. »

“People from the neighborhoods are leaving. At this rate, we’re going to continue to see a huge decline in Chicago residents who don’t think it’s a place to raise a family. … If we don’t have a candidate who really understands this history and how to change it, there won’t be a new generation of Chicagoans in these neighborhoods,” he said.

“We need a leader who listens, who collaborates, who motivates people to get involved in communities and in the political process. We need young people to feel that they have hope in this city. People are literally in a place where they feel no hope. They don’t think things can change. And I’m here to say they can. We will give people hope and tangible change in record time.

To “repopulate” southern and western communities and create a “new tax base,” Green talks about issuing $1 billion in annual revenue bonds to “create 10,000 new homeowners” by providing assistance for l down payment and closing costs.

He plans to work with the county to impose a “tax freeze on derelict properties so that people have an incentive to develop” those properties. He would also advocate universal pre-school education for children as young as three years old.

“We need to change this narrative that public safety is about the police, because it is not. Public safety is about making sure we massively address the root causes,” he said.

Green doesn’t say how he plans to pay for all of his big projects.

In fact, he promises to reduce city revenue by eliminating the automatic indexation that Lightfoot imposed on the city council. It forever locks in annual property tax increases in line with inflation.

He also takes aim at his plan to quickly pass and accelerate Bally City Council’s $1.7 billion casino plan.

“The casino should be shut down until the next administration. She accelerated this casino. The community has not been heard. And the numbers about this casino – how much it’s going to make – are outright lies,” he said.

“The next mayor should manage the casino – whether the casino should be where it is, or whether we will have a casino at all.”

Shortly after Lightfoot took office, Green began publicly criticizing the mayor he helped elect.

The first public break came when Lightfoot proclaimed as a “done deal” a $95 million police and fire training academy that Green and others had called a symbol of Rahm Emanuel’s misplaced spending priorities. . In fact, Lightfoot said the project needed to be expanded, improved, and, no doubt, more expensive.

This was followed by Green’s outspoken criticism of Lightfoot’s selection of David Brown as superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, and also of what Green saw as CPD officers’ brutal treatment of protesters during the civil unrest.

Green also criticized Lightfoot’s decision to cordon off the city center by raising bridges after protests sparked by the death of George Floyd turned into two rounds of devastating looting.

But the very personal and seemingly final straw for Lightfoot came last year when the mayor took to Twitter to shoot down what she called “homophobic, racist and misogynistic rumours” about his own personal life. .

A month later, Greed accused Lightfoot of putting a stop to a $15 million youth center he wanted to build on the site of a closed elementary school in Auburn-Gresham in retaliation for Green’s outspoken criticism. against the mayor.

Activist Ja'Mal Green shouts at Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a press conference near 79th and Halsted on Friday, May 20, 2021. Green accused Lightfoot of lying after saying she was

Activist Ja’Mal Green yells at Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a press conference in May 2021. He said he was confronting the mayor to accuse him of trying to undermine his plans to build a youth center in Auburn Gresham. She said she didn’t know about the project.

“She takes things too personal and only has allegiance to her friends,” Green told the Sun-Times that day.

“His vindictiveness, his personal vendettas. … If you’re not her friend, she’s not willing to help you.

When Green pulled out of the 2019 mayoral race, it was because he was short on money and didn’t have the required number of signatures to be on the ballot.

This time around, he says he has “many local and national donors” who have agreed to fund his campaign.

“I’m going to write big checks myself. There will be a lot of big donors to push this campaign forward,” he said. “We have already received pledges of millions.