Today, former teacher, community organizer and current 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King released a campaign video announcing that she is running for Mayor of Chicago, vowing to “put an end to false choices” and bring people together to improve public safety, create opportunity in every part of the city, and make sure all of our children get a good education.
“I love this city. We need a Chicago that’s safer AND stronger. Let’s put an end to the false choices,” said King. “Because we can have safety and justice. Compassion and accountability. We can revitalize neighborhoods and renew downtown. We can educate our young people. We can build our city and build equity. I am running for Mayor because we need more collaboration, not more confrontation, and we can go further together.”
The announcement video opens with King walking past 43rd St. and S. Berkeley, where a shooting took place only a few days after she was sworn in as 4th Ward Alderman more than six years ago.
“Violence is not an abstract problem to me. I have seen the pain it causes way too many times. There’s no question about it. We have to hold the people who commit violent crimes accountable, and we have to hold our leaders accountable too,” said King.
The video also features former Chicago Police Department 2nd District Commander Crystal King-Smith, who worked side-by-side with King.
“She always advocated for me as the district commander to get more recruits, and she wants officers who are doing wrong to be held accountable,” said former Commander King-Smith, who is no relation.
King’s announcement video also features retired educator and Hyde Park resident Bill Gerstein, who said of Sophia King, “All her life, whenever Sophia sees a problem, she runs towards them to get things done.”
Former WFLD Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson added, “She’s a leader on protecting our rights, whether that be reproductive rights or a right to a good job. She fights for the rights of everybody.”
As the alderperson representing parts of Downtown, the South Loop, Bronzeville (Douglas, North Kenwood, Oakland, Grand Blvd.), Kenwood, and Hyde Park, King has worked on the front lines on crime and public safety issues, and she’s leading the redevelopment of the long-shuttered Michael Reese Hospital site.
While other mega-developments elsewhere in the city drew large-scale protests from residents because the deals were too generous to developers and offered too little affordable housing, Ald. King brought together all parts of the community to ensure more affordable housing, a real community benefits agreement, and higher minority contractor participation.
The video also touts King’s leadership on reforming minority contracting as a way to build generational wealth in Black and Brown communities and provide good-paying jobs that can help break the cycle of violence. While goals for citywide minority contractors aim for 25% of planned developments, the number exceeds 40% on projects that King has worked on in her ward.
“It’s why we’ve made sure that minority contractors don’t get shut out of city contracts and partner with the community to tackle the root causes of violent crime,” said King.
Every community meeting she attends, every day she works with her two police commanders, every shooting incident — Sophia sees firsthand that we can’t keep doing what we’re doing as murders, shootings, and carjackings continue to plague our city.
Before entering public service, Sophia King actively connected residents in her community to address some of the largest problems in the city. Whether fighting for youth programs as president of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council, advocating for women’s reproductive rights as vice president of Planned Parenthood Chicago, creating a community response to gun violence with The It’s Time Organization (TITO) in the wake of Hadiya Pendleton’s murder, or advocating for more inclusion in city and state contracts through Harriet’s Daughters, Sophia has skillfully brought people together and engaged them in productive dialog to address complex challenges.
“Everything I’ve ever done has been achieved by bringing people together to find real solutions to the problems confronting Chicago. We are big enough and tough enough to tackle our most challenging problems in every neighborhood. But the only way we can do this is if we do this together. All of us. And each of us. Join me,” concluded King.