Cook County’s first Black elected State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, was sworn in for her second term this morning by The Honorable Sharon Johnson Coleman, United States District Court Judge of the Northern District of Illinois. The ceremony was broadcast virtually from downtown Chicago, where Foxx spoke about the progress she’s brought since she took office in 2016 and addressed her vision for the next four years. (Photos and remarks linked below)
“It is a true honor that Cook Countians have put their faith in me for another four years to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office as their State’s Attorney. It’s not lost on me that my journey from Cabrini Green to State’s Attorney is both inspiring and improbable because the neighborhood I grew up in wasn’t afforded the benefit of opportunity,” said Foxx.
Foxx continued: “We must reckon with race and have candid conversations about the systemic racism that plagues our communities. When 86 percent of people in jail are Black and Brown and nine-out-of-ten victims of homicide are Black and Brown, opportunity can feel out of reach in these communities. During my second term as State’s Attorney, I am committed to investing in resources and programs to help provide opportunities in neighborhoods that have faced generations of disinvestment, like where I grew up. It is my goal that the work my office will do over these next four years will help provide opportunities in communities throughout our county that have otherwise been ignored, so a story like mine—where someone achieves their dreams—becomes within reach for us all no matter which neighborhood we call home.”
Foxx reflected on the challenges Cook County has experienced this past year, including racial injustice, the bloodshed due to gun violence—not only in Cook County but around the United States—and the impacts from COVID-19 which has taken away the health, jobs, economic stability and peace of mind for so many.
Foxx reflected on the critical work of criminal justice reform and efforts to increase public safety policies that her administration began in 2016, which includes bail reform, a pioneering commitment to data transparency, an expanded Conviction Integrity Unit, credited with dismissing over 100 cases of wrongful convictions, expunging more than 2,200 low-level cannabis convictions, launching the Gun Crimes Strategy Unit, launching a police-accountability & misconduct reporting form for the public and more.
Looking forward, Foxx announced some key priorities for her second term, including:
- working with community partners to address the connection between untreated mental illness and addiction and the response of the criminal justice system
- advancing policies that invest resources in Black and Brown communities through partnerships with legislators
- a renewed commitment to working closely with law enforcement partners to bring positive change earlier in the crime cycle, particularly related to officer-involved shootings and gun crimes
In early 2021 Foxx said she will be announcing more specific details around the policy plans and initiatives on how she will move forward to accomplish these second-term priorities.
“Breaking the cycle of crime starts with investing resources in our neighborhoods—while still administering justice by providing awareness around alternatives to living a life of crime. We will work with our community partners at helping remove the stigma around mental illness—a stigma that is often seen in communities of color—while we push for investing in resources to increase mental wellness,” said Foxx.
Foxx added that her administration is motivated to work with other stakeholders to ensure laws are updated to reflect public safety and the needs of Cook County citizens while increasing law enforcement accountability.