Jill Stein holds Chicago rally despite warrant for her arrest


Erin Brown

Jill Stein discussed her presidential platforms in her hometown of Chicago during a Sept. 7 rally.

By Metro Reporter

Addressing her supporters at a Sept. 7 rally in Uptown, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein discussed the current warrant out for her arrest in North Dakota after spray painting “I approve this message” onto a bulldozer in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“There is a warrant out for the arrest of Ajamu Baraka and myself,” Stein said. “The ones that should be arrested are companies of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” 

Stein’s running mate, Ajamu Baraka, also took time during the event to address his and Stein’s misdemeanor warrant.

“Some people ask why we were in North Dakota, and why we ended up in the situation,” Baraka said. “We have to explain to them very simply that this campaign is not just a campaign, [it] is about building popular power, [it] is about linking up shoulder to shoulder with all those who are struggling against oppression.”

However, the third-party candidate’s legal issues did not stop her from addressing a crowd of approximately 600, who gathered at the Peoples Church of Chicago, 941 W. Lawrence Ave. The audience listened to Stein discuss major social issues included in her campaign, such as student debt, climate change and the trillions of dollars spent overseas on warfare. 

“These problems are not unsolvable,” Stein said to the crowd. “There is nothing fairytale about justice.” 

Some rally attendees sported Bernie Sanders hats, while several wore T-shirts that said “The Greater Good, Not the Lesser Evil.” Signs declared “Demilitarize the Police” and “Abolish Student Debt.”

Nancy Wade, chair of the Green Party of Chicago, called attendees the “heroes of democracy” for their third-party support. 

Christopher Lempa, a 21-year-old North Park University student wearing a Jill Stein t-shirt and Bernie Sanders hat, said he supports Stein now that Sanders is out of the race because she has similar ideals.

“I am here to go against the two-party system we’re stuck in,” Lempa said. “The two parties running things are in many ways on the same team at this point.” 

Taylor Henson, a 22-year-old Stein supporter and Americorps volunteer from Elgin, Illinois, said the candidate represents her values, and she does not feel as if she is throwing away her vote by casting her ballot for a third party candidate. 

“It is very important to vote for Jill Stein, or whoever you think is the best

presidential candidate because you vote with your heart,” Henson said. “That is what true democracy is—not voting because they have the best chance.”

Stein refuted the idea that votes for her are wasted. 

“We’re told that resistance is futile, why are we even bothering—I’m certainly hearing that all the time,” Stein said. “We say to them ‘forget the lesser evil; fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it,’ because they do.” 

Ahlea Aguilar, a 21-year-old student at Elgin Community College earning her associates degree in Human Service, said abolishing student debt is the most appealing part of Stein’s campaign.

“Jill Stein has become the newer age hero to me,” Aguilar said. 

Speakers included members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, local college students, several city and state Green Party candidates and Zerlina Smith, Stein’s Illinois state regional campaign coordinator who expressed frustration with the current political landscape and expressed hope for a better future.

“If you look outside your door, is this a vision of what you want it to be?” asked Smith. “Are you tired of the Republican that has not had a budget for the state of Illinois in years?”

Stein also addressed local issues such as the lack of funding for public schools and the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

“Not only did Chicago need a new Chief of Police, Chicago needs a new mayor to do justice to Chicago,” Stein said. “This is a crisis of the violence of systemic racism that is part of the ongoing legacy of the criminal institution of slavery, which we must put an end to once and for all.”