#ByeAnita #AlvarezMustGo was a political education and organizing campaign led by young, Black queer women, femmes & gender non-conforming folks in early 2015. Anita Alvarez, soon-to-be former Cook County State’s Attorney, took more than a year to charge Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October of 2014. Alvarez also failed to secure a conviction for Dante Servin, the Chicago Police officer who shot and killed Rekia Boyd. The lead groups and individuals involved in the #ByeAnita #AlvarezMustGo campaigns were not working in coordination with any particular candidate, but rather they relied on autonomous actions that were strategically coordinated to spread information about the state violence perpetuated by State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Their actions included teach ins, traditional canvassing, creative protests, and social media.
Organizers included members of Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter Chicago (BLM Chi), and the Fierce Femmes of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY). Supporting organizations included Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Asians Against Anita, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Chicago), Chicago Light Brigade, Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites (CLAW), Fight for 15, Mijente, Mom’s United Against Violence & Incarceration, #Not1More, and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Project NIA. A website was dedicated to the campaign, where you can still view many of the press statements, videos, and artwork.
For the People Artists Collective contributed to the campaign by creating banners, posters, propaganda, imagery, memes, and photography. Our artwork was used in a mini-zine entitled Ten Things You Hate About Anita, created by Eva Nagao & Project NIA, which was disseminated throughout the city. Artists showed up to actions as co-strugglers and documenters, risking arrest and bodily harm by the hands of the state.
The campaign was successful, and on March 15, 2016, Kim Foxx defeated Alvarez in the Democratic primary. This campaign is unique in its success in defeating a public official in the polls without endorsing another candidate. Anita Alvarez will leave office after a new State’s Attorney is sworn in after the November general election, and #ByeAnita organizers plan to hold Foxx accountable to her responsibilities.