Five mayoral candidates discuss community-based solutions to gun violence at Forum on Youth

Chicago youth group Good Kids Mad City hosted a mayors’ forum on Tuesday to discuss issues important to young people in Chicago’s south and west sides, including how to stop gun violence.

Five of the nine candidates attended an event held at Northwestern University’s campus on the Near North Side.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, businessman Willie Wilson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Ballas, and US Congressman Jesus “Chui” Garcia did not attend.

The debate has largely centered around the Peace Book Ordinance, which seeks to divert 2% of the Chicago Police Department’s $1.7 billion budget to youth-led funding programs in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence. Done.

it was Introduced at City Council Aldo, last summer. Leslie Hairston (5th) and Aldo. Roderick Sawyer (6th) represents the driving force behind the idea, Good Kids his Mad City.

Rep. Kam Buckner was questioned about whether he continued to support local law enforcement after the death of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten to death by members of a specialized Memphis police gang unit. Buckner said he prefers to give more resources to the community so it can police itself.

Tyler Paciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Young people affected by gun violence told candidates at the forum about their experiences and how community-based organizations have helped them.

All candidates in attendance said they supported the ordinance, but the audience put pressure on them about certain elements of their public safety proposal and how it could affect young people.

Aldo. Sophia King (No. 4) was asked by activist Kina Collins to reveal her plans to expand the use of drones in police pursuits. Collins called the proposal “dangerous” for the black community.

“Instead of helicopters, use it as a tool for tracking or taking pictures. Instead of helicopters, you can have five to seven in each district,” says King. “It will bring more security than chasing. This is nothing like a military zone.”

Collins was unsatisfied with this answer, saying drones have been proven to discriminate against black and brown communities. She asked King to reconsider her position.

Rep. Kam Buckner was asked if he supported expanding community police following the death of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten to death by members of the Memphis Police Department’s Scorpion Unit.

Buckner said his plan is not to increase the number of police officers, but to give more resources to communities so they can police themselves.


Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson told the audience that communities must step up to help defend elected leaders for the Peace Book Ordinance and other laws.

Tyler Paciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“It’s important to have mental health providers and resources that show up when something happens,” Buckner said. We also talked a lot about providing funding.”

Candidates also expressed support for establishing a Youth Commission in City Hall to advise the mayor on issues affecting young people. Members receive rewards from the south and west sides of the city.

“Cities must be independent so young people have a voice and can hold the mayor accountable. The mayor cannot just fire them,” said activist Jamal Green. Told.

When candidates were asked what they could do to be held accountable by the community if the Peacebook plan was not adopted, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson said that accountability is “a two-way street.” said.

“I have to keep organizing. See, I’m going to give you my commitment just like I’ve done as a teacher, organizer and Cook County Commissioner,” Johnson said. If we’re struggling to get the votes we need to secure resources, we need to step in and help advocacy.”

Sawyer said the key is to ensure constant communication with young people.

“As Black people, we have to make sure that Black people are being actively cared for,” Sawyer said. ”

Early voting for Tuesday’s election is already underway.


Activist Jamal Greene expressed support for a youth commission at city hall, but said it must be independent and have the power to hold the mayor accountable.

Tyler Paciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times Five mayoral candidates discuss community-based solutions to gun violence at Forum on Youth

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