Ja’Mal Green | Provided
On February 28, 2023, the people of Chicago might not be surprised to find the name of 27-year-old Ja’Mal Green on the top spot on the ballot. The young community activist has already made headlines for years, fighting to secure a better future for ‘the next generation of Chicagoans’, including his own three young children. He is a progressive, unabashedly focusing on his bold agenda to reinvest in Southside Chicago and deliver his promise to underprivileged communities of color.
Ja’Mal Green was born in 1995, and has spent his entire entire life in Chicago, Illinois. Turning twenty-seven in August, Green has already been a renowned local activist for close to a decade. His community leadership focused primarily on providing technical guidance and financial support to young Black men and local small businesses. As a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Green has made great strides in fighting both rampant crime and police brutality in marginalized neighborhoods across southern and eastern Chicago.
Green first made it to the national spotlight with his unrelenting protests against police impropriety in the Laquan McDonald case. Last February, Green was fined and barred from the Dirksen Federal Building for causing disruption. The incident took place after former officer Jason van Dyke was released after three years in prison over the murder of McDonald, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2014. Ja’Mal Green later attempted to run for Mayor of Chicago at only 23 in 2019, but the effort failed after another long-term candidate, Willie Wilson, successfully challenged the validity of his nomination.
This time, the mayoral campaign of Green is going as smoothly as can be best hoped for a newcomer in American politics. Green has already got the endorsement of 12,500 of his hopeful constituents, and will now be the youngest of the seven candidates vying to oust Democratic incumbent Lory Lightfoot from her office. On December 6, Green won the coveted first spot during the ballot lottery publicly held that day by the Chicago Board of Elections. Amazed, the young activist claimed that the stroke of luck could boost his total vote count by at least “a couple percent” and up to 5%, without citing any statistical studies to back that up.
Green’s platform is defined by his background in community activism, which has helped him appreciate the value of progressive initiatives for young people of minority descent, who feel left behind by mainstream society. After his much-publicised clash with Chase Bank over loan redlining, Green has introduced the creation of a public bank “similar to the Bank of North Dakota” as a viable solution to historic underinvestment in Black and Brown communities. Last week, Green briefly unveiled a $5-billion public safety plan that aims to tackle crime by focusing on the root causes of poverty and exclusion.
One of the notable details of his campaign is the tense relationship between Green and incumbent Lightfoot, another Black progressive with a very similar policy orientation. The two have publicly clashed multiple times over the past four years, including one time in April 2021 when Ja’Mal Green spread the false rumor of Mayor Lightfoot’s imminent resignation. The piece of misinformation was denounced as “Homophobic, racist and misogynistic” by Lightfoot. Green later apologized for his improper mistake.