Today, community organizer, activist, and nationally recognized gun violence prevention advocate Kina Collins announced her campaign for Congress in IL-7. The 30-year-old challenger will take on 24-year incumbent Rep. Danny Davis with a campaign focused on gun safety, healthcare, and racial justice. She has the backing of Justice Democrats, the group that successfully sent progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Jamaal Bowman to Congress, and most recently aided Marie Newman’s victory in the IL-3 primary.
“From leading the gun violence prevention movement in Illinois, to fighting for Medicare for all and holding elected officials accountable after the murder of Laquan McDonald, Kina has already delivered results for her community,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats. “The people of this district are ready for a new generation of leadership who will show up everyday in Congress and fight for the change her community needs. I know Kina is going to be that leader.”
Born and raised on Chicago’s west side in the Austin neighborhood, Kina Collins is the daughter of two union workers. In grade school, Kina witnessed a child murdered in front of her home. She knew both the shooter and the victim. That single tragic moment altered the trajectory of her life. Kina Collins became a gun violence prevention advocate, leading the largest gun violence prevention nonprofit in the state of Illinois. Her advocacy also led her to the Biden-Harris transition team’s task force on gun violence.
A proud product of Chicago Public Schools, Kina knows firsthand what working-class Chicagoans are going through during this pandemic and recession because she has lived it. Kina Collins believes she has both the experience and knowledge of policy to bring real change to the district. From writing and passing HB 5544, which created the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, to working as a national organizer for single-payer health care, to mobilizing protests following the murder of Laquan McDonald, Kina has been at the front lines of the issues facing her community long before she even considered running for office.
Kina previously challenged Representative Davis in the 2020 primary cycle, finishing second despite spending the least amount of money of the primary challengers. Kina Collins launches her campaign with support from progressives. She has already received the support of local progressive groups including Women’s March IL, Illinois Youth Climate Movement, and 14th Ward IPO. She is also backed by Justice Democrats, which supported progressive primary challenges by current Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, and Ayanna Pressley.
“We know that Kina is the leader who can bring change to IL-7 because we’ve watched her do it before. In 2017, Kina wrote House Bill 5544, which created the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, organized around it, and got it passed by the state legislature and signed into law by a Republican governor,” said Women’s March Illinois Communications Director Brenna O’Brien. “In this moment with everything from women’s rights to healthcare to a living wage on the line, Kina is the leader we need to create real change.”
Kina Collins spoke with the Chicago Defender about why she chose to run again and why she believes it is time for a new voice representing the IL-7 in Washington.
Interim Managing Editor, Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on Twitter @DanieSanders20.