Ja’Mal Green: 22-Year-Old Activist Sets Sights on City Hall

Community organizer and entrepreneur Ja’Mal Green is making history as the youngest candidate to run for mayor.

The 22-year-old joins a growing list of candidates hoping to unseat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Green, a Black Lives Matter activist who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, says the city needs new leadership and that it’s time for the millennial generation to step up.

“We need leadership,” says Green. “Millenials are woke and they see what is going on and they want to be part of change. Look on social media. Look at how young people are rising up around the country – it’s time.”

Green says that if elected mayor he would stop what he calls the “mismanagement of city funds” and then prioritize to ensure money is being spent wisely.

One potential new source of revenue could be taxes from the legal sale of marijuana.

“We need a progressive source of income and I am for the decriminalization of cannabis,” Green said.

He also favors a plan that would require police officers to have their own independent insurance policies as a means of enhancing accountability.

“I want police officers to have independent insurance,” Green said. “That will be another form of accountability because if police officers can’t get insured because their record is too bad then they can’t be on the streets of Chicago.”

Green also favors an elected school board to provide greater transparency and accountability for Chicago Public Schools as well as the creation of wellness centers across the city to provide services to those with mental illness.

“It’s important because a lot of people are walking around with problems and nobody is there to help them,” Green said. “Then you have situations where someone with mental health problems gets into an altercation with the police and the police aren’t really trained to deal with mental health issues and therefore they shoot and kill them.”

Green had his own run-in with the police in 2016 when he was among a group of 19 arrested at an anti-police brutality event at the Taste of Chicago. He plead guilty to resisting arrest. Felony charges alleging he struck a police officer were later dropped.

More interviews with mayoral candidates:

Susana Mendoza

La Shawn Ford

William J. Kelly

Gery Chico

Bill Daley

Amara Enyia

John Kozlar

Lori Lightfoot

Paul Vallas

Dorothy Brown

Neal Sáles-Griffin

Troy LaRaviere

Willie Wilson

Garry McCarthy

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