Rep. Danny Davis Says R. Kelly Deserves a Second Chance

Congressman Danny Davis believes in second chances. The 7th District Representative currently running for re-election said in an interview with TMZ on Capitol Hill that R. Kelly would be welcomed back to Chicago after serving his federal prison sentence. R. Kelly was convicted yesterday on all counts including sex trafficking, racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, and bribery in New York.  He is scheduled to be sentenced in May 2022. R. Kelly also faces criminal charges in Illinois, Cook County and Minnesota.

“As an artist, one who’s gifted. I think he’ll be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed. I’m a big believer in what is called second chances.” 

He referenced his bill, “The 2nd Chance Act, which was signed in 2003.  The “SCA” is a program that coordinates reentry initiatives, provides mentoring and transitional services to adult and juvenile offenders reentering communities. His opponent, candidate and gun violence prevention activist, Kina Collins, was shocked by the sentiment, saying, Congressman Davis’ statement today was thoughtless, distasteful, and incredibly disappointing for a man charged with representing thousands of Black women and girls in our district.

“I’m shocked that my Congressman would choose today of all days to focus on second chances for a serial abuser rather than uplifting survivors. Second chances for those reentering communities from prison are critical. But by holding R. Kelly — a man who leveraged his wealth and power to evade justice and harm Black girls — as an example of what second chances look like, Davis is undermining the broader fight for justice. “It took years of activism — led by Black women — to hold R. Kelly accountable. He has caused immeasurable harm to so many women in our district and across Chicago. He hasn’t even been sentenced, let alone begun to serve his time. When so many survivors are just now finally able to begin their healing process, Congressman Davis’ statement shows just how out of touch he is with the community he claims to represent.  “My heart goes out to survivors in IL-07 and across the country today. Our district deserves better than thoughtless leadership.” 

The congressman went on to say it is up to R. Kelly what he chooses to do with his life post prison.  When asked what R. Kelly should do during his impending incarceration, he said, “Try and find peace with his maker and peace with himself and reconcile with the universe for the acts that he may have committed”.  Davis has represented the 7th congressional district since 1997 and is up for reelection in 2022.

Update: In a statement to the Huffington Post, Congressman Danny Davis clarified his comments saying, “Kelly has been accused of criminal acts, gone through a court of law, been convicted and must serve whatever time the court decides,” he said, adding that he is “a law and order policy maker” and that “women and children must be respected and protected at all times and at all costs.” 

Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSanders20 and @DanieSandersOfficial.

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