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Young Kim Foxx Supporters Keep Eyes On Criminal Justice Reform

Cook County’s top prosecutor Anita Alvarez lost her job Tuesday, after months of criticism over how she’s handled police shootings. 

Kim Foxx, a former prosecutor and most recently chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, defeated Alvarez in the Democratic primary Tuesday--making her the frontrunner to win again in November. 

Foxx’s win came, in part, from the support of young activists who have been vocal about fixing the criminal justice system. 

“We love Kim Foxx,” said Chakena Sims, 22. “But Kim Foxx is a politician and we hold politicians accountable.”

Sims worked on Foxx’s campaign and has been involved in politics since graduating from Connecticut College. Sims is a graduate of Chicago Public Schools and said many young people in the city are fed up with how black and brown teens are treated in the criminal justice system. 

Ja’Mal Green, 20, sported a T-shirt that said “Adios Anita” across the front. He said Foxx’s win shows how young people of color in Chicago are becoming more influential on the political scene. 

“We got (Chicago Police Superintendent) Garry McCarthy out the next day, after Black Friday (protests), now we just got Anita out,” he said. “We got one more to go… Rahm Emanuel.”

Mayor Emanuel also came under fire for waiting more than a year to release a police video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by a white police officer. 

Foxx has promised to fix what many say is a broken criminal justice system in Cook County. In her victory speech, she said she will work to bridge the divide between communities and law enforcement. 

Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her @WBEZeducation


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