Protesters hold up lighted letters that read BYE ANITA

Chicago says #ByeAnita to State’s Attorney Who Cleared 68 Killer Cops

In 2008, Anita Alvarez became the first woman and first Latina candidate to fill the seat of Cook County’s State’s Attorney. Since then, Alvarez’s office has been accused of multiple cover-ups. She cleared killer cops at least 68 times and took a year to file murder charges against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times.

And now, after months of organizing efforts led by Assata’s Daughters, Black Youth Project 100, and We Charge Genocide, she’s been kicked out of office.

As Adrienne Samuels Gibbs reports over at Broadly:

[Activists are] responding to what they consider Alvarez’s miscarriages of justice, especially when it comes to prosecuting cops and people of color: They want her out of office and have spent the last five months ramping up an anti-Anita campaign that could very well be her undoing.

“She is part of the violence we’ve seen,” says Page May, an activist and anti-Anita organizer with the grassroots radical black women’s collective Assata’s Daughters. “She has blood on her hands. Voters need to understand what’s at stake here.”

“What’s at stake” is the way future police shootings might be handled. This is incredibly important everywhere, but especially in Chicago—where there are well-documented problems with segregation, racial tension, and police misconduct.

The #ByeAnita campaign by Chicago organizers—most of whom are Black, queer women—led to a huge victory at a key moment. Last night, Alvarez lost the race for state’s attorney by huge margins to Kim Foxx, a Black former prosecutor in Cook County who had run on a reform platform.

While no one thinks that a new attorney will be the only solution, as Kelly Hayes writes at Truthout, it certainly carries wider relevance for the movement for Black lives. Quoting BYP100 organizer Timothy Bradford, Hayes writes: “There [is] a clear political need “for [Alvarez], as a symbol, as a representation, and for that office to be held accountable, and to be put on notice that we are paying attention, that we see you, and that if you act up, if you harm us, we are coming for you.”

Bradford also adds that perhaps the most important aspect of this work is community building:

Organizing at the local level is the work of community building. It is the work of addressing how the community is impacted, and how the community chooses to respond [...] This is a very important moment for people who are used to engaging with politics through a mainstream, electoral format to have, not necessarily an awakening, but a re-envisioning of what solidarity and community are.

Read the rest of Hayes’ piece about how this organizing happened here.

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Mahroh Jahangiri is the former Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She cares about the ways in which American militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally. You can say hi to her at @mahrohj.

Mahroh Jahangiri is the former Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools.

Read more about Mahroh

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