In the Democratic primary race for Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez faced mounting pressure from both her opponents and members of the Black Lives Matter movement set on seeing her go. “Bye Anita!” was the rallying cry for hundreds of young activists and Tuesday, they got their wish.
One of the organizing groups Assata’s Daughters released this statement:
“Chicago Black youth have kicked Anita Alvarez out of office. Just a month ago, Anita Alvarez was winning in the polls. Communities who refuse to be killed, jailed, and abused without any chance at justice refused to allow her to be re-elected as State’s Attorney.
We did this for Rekia…We did this for Laquan…We won’t stop until we’re free and Kim Foxx should know that as well.”
The winner taking Alvarez’s place is Kim Foxx, who overcame poverty in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Projects and eventually went on to earn her law degree. She worked in the office’s juvenile division and was a former chief of staff to Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle.
Foxx’s win comes in the wake of public outcry over Alvarez’s handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting case. Critics believed Alvarez was too slow in bringing Officer Jason Van Dyke up on murder charges. The release of video in which McDonald was shot 16 times and the subsequent outcry over the handling of the case by public officials led to extreme dissatisfaction with the incumbent state’s attorney.
Foxx addressed the need for change and reform in an emotional victory speech, saying that the time for celebration would come later. “The need to rebuild a broken criminal justice system in Cook County is not to be taken lightly,” she said.
Meanwhile, Alvarez conceded the bid for her third-term and said she would continue to serve until it was time for her to leave office. “I have been criticized that I wasn’t a very good politician, and that’s probably right, and that’s probably why I stand before you tonight,” Alvarez said. “But I am very damn proud of the fact that I am a good prosecutor, I have been.”
Alvarez was the first female and first Hispanic elected to be Cook County State’s Attorney.