Second time’s the charm?


Kina Collins grew up on the west side in Austin, and began organizing around gun violence while she was a student at Rufus M. Hitch Elementary and Von Steuben High School. In 2015, she began organizing with the protest movement that coalesced around the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by then-Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Collins also worked with the Center for American Progress and Physicians for a National Health Program. In 2020, she challenged US representative Danny K. Davis, who has represented the Illinois Seventh District since 1997, and garnered 14 percent of the vote in a four-way race that Davis won handily. Collins is running again, with gun violence prevention, health-care access, and criminal justice reform central to her campaign. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jim Daley: What have you been working on since the 2020 race?

China Collins: I became the executive director for one of the largest gun-violence prevention nonprofits in the state. It was formerly known as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, and is now One Aim Illinois. It has a statewide grassroots coalition, and we were pushing for things like removing firearms from the homes of domestic abusers and the gun dealer certification and licensing program here in Illinois. Because of that work, I was tapped by the Biden-Harris administration to serve as a stakeholder for the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.


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