Kina Collins is a lifelong activist and nationally recognized gun violence prevention and health care advocate with a proven track record of policymaking, coalition building, and collaborating with communities to improve public health and safety.
She was born and raised in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. She grew up in a working-class union family and attended Chicago public schools. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, Kina Collins saw her community heavily impacted by gun violence, failing healthcare systems, lack of economic opportunity, and closed neighborhood schools. She knew she had to fight beyond the surface-level issues directly facing her community to address the systemic issues of poverty and neglect.
With organizing in her blood, Kina Collins began organizing in the wake of the murder of Laquan McDonald. She went on to collaborate with activists in Baton Rouge when Alton Sterling was shot and murdered. At that moment, Kina saw how the violence her community experienced extended beyond police brutality. Violence is the lead that poisons the drinking water, the food deserts, the public schools being shut down, the general neglect and divestment from Black and brown communities in the district. Like many who have gone unseen and unheard by the establishment, Kina did not have much faith in government – until she fought to bring the voice of the most marginalized communities into the legislative process.
In 2017, Kina Collins founded the Chicago Neighborhood Alliance, with the goal of empowering activists to end gun violence in Chicago through civic engagement. She co-authored the Illinois Council on Women and Girls Act, which created a council to advise the governor and state lawmakers on issues concerning women and girls, and served as the Council’s inaugural chair. During her tenure as the Council’s chair, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia also selected Kina to serve on the Status of Women and Girls in Chicago working group.
During the 2019 Chicago aldermanic election, Kina Collins helped form a coalition of organizations called Brand New Council, which aimed to elect progressive candidates of color to the Chicago City Council. The coalition endorsed candidates and worked to register new voters.
In 2016, Kina was also selected as a member of Generation Progress’ #Fight4AFuture National Leadership Council, which developed campaigns on gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform. Most recently she served as a stakeholder on President Biden’s transition team and task force for gun violence prevention.
As part of our weeklong coverage in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Chicago Defender wanted to know what Dr. King’s vision looks like today. We reached out to community leaders, activists, advocates, and experts in law, politics, healthcare, and education to ask the question “What does Social Justice Look Like Now?”
Kina Collins is currently running for Congress and spoke with the Chicago Defender about what social justice looks like now and why it is time for the younger generation to take their place and lead the country to a more equitable society.
For more on Congressional Candidate Kina Collins visit her website.