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District Council candidate: ‘Chicago police made me fear for my son’s life’

By Tulsi McDaniels |
November 14, 2022
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Candidates for police district council in the office of the Chicago Alliance Aga
Candidates for police district council in the office of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression on Nov. 8. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Chicago, IL - Kenya Franklin recalls her nephew’s unjust beating by Chicago police in 2000. “It made me fear for my son’s life.”

With this experience, Franklin was petitioning at polling locations in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood on election day, November 8. She wants to get on the ballot in the upcoming municipal elections in February as a candidate for the Police District Council.

District Councils, created by the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance and the movement to stop police crimes, are made of three elected community members in each of Chicago’s 22 police districts. These councils have the power to make decisions and create initiatives around policing and public safety in their neighborhoods and serve as another place for residents to go when they have issues with the police. 

The November 8 Illinois General Elections were an essential day for potential candidates to collect signatures to make the ballot in February. In an effort to gain popular support from residents on the South and West Sides for their local district council candidates, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression office in Woodlawn dispersed volunteers for 30 potential district council members covering polling locations in 12 police districts.

Potential candidates petitioned at polling locations across Chicago for ECPS’s first District Council election. Franklin shared her sentiments on the importance of ECPS and her decision to run for district council. “I would like the citizens to have a voice regarding misconduct and the overall relationship between law enforcement and civilians.” Many of those who showed up to the polls on the 8th were also in favor of police accountability for their neighborhood, and over 180 registered voters signed on in support of Kenya Franklin’s candidacy.

Since the passing of the ordinance by the people in July 2021, this is the second major event following the first meetings of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, also created by ECPS. The commission will bring together the efforts of the District Councils and will direct the policies and accountability structure for the Chicago Police Department. Despite public pressure, the current Interim Commission is still in a period of struggling for their agreed budget. 

Moving forward, once district council members receive the required signatures, they will begin to campaign for their neighbors’ votes. The district council will act in connection to the citywide commission and residents from across all 22 districts, establishing democratically structured decision-making and public safety at a local level.

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