Despite facing a warrant for her arrest in North Dakota, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein made a series of campaign stops in Chicago Thursday.
Stein, a Highland Park native, was charged with misdemeanor trespassing and criminal mischief Wednesday for allegedly spray painting a bulldozer at a North Dakota Indian reservation during a protest of the Dakota Access pipeline, NBC News reports.
The Green Party leader took a “reality walk” through the South Austin neighborhood Thursday where she addressed her pressing legal situation.
“Our lawyers are now working with legal authorities in North Dakota so that we will participate respectfully and with dignity in the legal system at the time,” Stein said. “I felt that it would have been unconscionable for me not to stand up and support the indigenous leaders who are putting their lives on the line and are under attack from vicious attack dogs who are having pepper spray sprayed in their faces and whose sacred burial grounds are being desecrated.”
She also touched on the city’s pervasive violence. This year, Chicago has recorded more murders than New York and Los Angeles combined.
“We’ve got a crisis here,” she said. “A crisis on the streets here in the West Side, we’ve had some 56 deaths from street violence in the last year alone.”
In addressing Chicago’s violence, the nominee stressed the need for national gun control reform.
“We need gun laws that actually provide the protection that our communities need and these laws need to be at the national level,” Stein said. “We need background checks, we need to be assured assault weapons are not out on the streets.”
“The American people are speaking up in this race and saying they’ve had enough of being thrown under the bus,” she added. “This community has been thrown under the bus."
Stein also pushed for more investment in education, faulting Chicago Public Schools for closures within the district. She claimed the school closings have targeted “communities of color” and that those communities are “not being served” because students are being reassigned to schools they can’t get to.
Additionally, Stein called for a jobs program similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. She referred to the plan as “a new Green New Deal” and claimed it would “provide the jobs at the same time that it addresses the crisis of our climate.”
After being prompted about the upcoming presidential debates, Stein championed an open debate format that would likely include her and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.
“76 percent of the American public is clamoring for open debates, for actually allowing other choices to come into those dates so that people can find out,” she said. “The current Democratic and Republican candidates for president have the highest levels of distrust and the highest levels of unfavorable ratings in our history."
Stein's Chicago trip also included a visit with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board and a rally in Uptown, the Chicago Tribune reported.