Activist Ja’Mal Green promotes education equality in mayoral run
Ja’Mal Green thinks the office of the mayor of Chicago should be a reflection of its people.
“I’m running for mayor because Chicago cannot afford any more politicians posing as public servants,” Green, a 22-year-old community activist, told Chicago City Wire. “We need someone who has seen both sides of Chicago -- the good and bad -- and wants to work with the community to create a Chicago that looks the same to everyone.”
Green said the most critical issue facing the city is putting forth a budget that makes education a priority for all, not just those in certain areas of the city.
“With our triangle program, we can ensure that our children are provided the tools they need for a brighter future,” he said. “I want to make sure they have the option for trade school, entrepreneurial boot camp, or higher education. I will work to build up our neighborhood schools so that our young people can stop just going to school to go and start going to learn.”
As mayor, Green added he would seek to distance the city from elements of its long-troubled history.
“Chicago has always been a segregated city,” he said. “The benefits and beauty that is afforded to residents on the northside and downtown is not afforded to the other half of the city. I know that I can create a symmetrical city. All residents should be surrounded by beauty, city life and economic opportunity. As mayor, I will invest in these dilapidated neighborhoods and create the framework that will be modeled by other major cities.”
Green said the clashes he has had with police over the years as an activist are not necessarily meant to be an indictment of law enforcement as a whole. In 2016, he was among a large group arrested during an anti-police brutality protest at the Taste of Chicago. Though felony charges of striking a police officer were ultimately dropped, he pled guilty to charges of resisting arrest.
“There are amazing police officers, and I work with them daily, but those who are abusing their badge and their power, the voters need to hold them accountable and realize that the best way to honor the men and women in blue is to ensure that only the most deserving wear the uniform,” he said. “We need police, and I want people to know that I have grown and developed into something more than my past rants.”
While Green said he wholeheartedly believes he is the best person for the job, he’s convinced he can win without even being the one to register the most votes.
“I am bringing light to important issues and empowering youth to know that we have the power to change things,” he said. “Our circumstances, our city doesn’t have to remain complacent. We can do more; we can do better. That’s why I’m running for mayor, because after everything that has happened, after everything Chicago has been through, we need something new. We need somebody who hasn’t been primed to cater to the needs of only one part of Chicago. Someone who understands that we as Chicagoans all deserve the opportunity to be better than we were before.”