Our statement on the results of the February 26th Chicago Municipal Elections.
Though #NoCopAcademy is not an electoral campaign, and does not endorse any candidates for public office, we still won big in this week’s elections. From aldermanic races to the mayoral runoff, the demands young Black people are making of our city are already shaking the machine.
In the 49th ward, incumbent Joe Moore, a supporter of the cop academy and a henchman of private developers, was deftly defeated by community organizer Maria Hadden. In the 35th ward, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the only alderman to consistently defy Rahm and stick his neck out for our campaign, comfortably kept his seat. Ray Lopez, Deb Mell, and James Cappleman–who were targeted this week by trans and queer organizers for their racist policies–are all in runoffs. Mell in particular is in a dead heat with Rossana Rodriguez, a supporter of our campaign, and of the defunding of CPD.
In the 37th ward, where the academy is to be built, Tara Stamps valiantly challenged the machine-democrat Emma Mitts. As a fulltime CPS teacher–and without the $40,000 donation from Rahm that Mitts received–Stamps still managed to get 40% of the vote. We salute her campaign, and the young Black people in her ward who led a massive canvassing effort.
Even the mayoral race is a testament to our campaign’s effectiveness. Bill Dailey, the most vocal proponent of the cop academy, conceded defeat. The candidates that will be in April’s runoff, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, have now both personally called on the Zoning Committee to delay today’s vote until the next mayor has taken office, citing the lack of transparency and community input that have shroweded the project at every turn. This would not have happened without the organizing of Black youth putting serious pressure on these candidates.
We recognize that while we may have growing allyship in public office, there are no saviors. We recognize that the shifts we have created in this city’s conversations around defunding police are a result of grassroots direct action, authentic cross-community alliances, and an unapologetic commitment to Black liberation. We recognize that the voices of youth organizers–many of them too young to vote–were, and will continue to be, the determining factor in many of these races. Our fight continues, and so does our investment in the tactics that have gotten us this far.
We call on our supporters to show up at City Council on March 13th when we expect the final vote, to support candidates that advocate for public education, free mental health care, and affordable housing in place of more policing and incarceration, and to keep turning up and turning out for the demands of our city’s bravest and most vulnerable communities.