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Prominent Chicago Activist Announces Run for U.S. Congress; Would be Nation's First Formerly Incarcerated Woman Elected

Chicago-based activist and University of Chicago Law student Sarah Gad announces run for U.S. Congress in Illinois' 1st District with powerful campaign video.

At the end of the day, confiscating peoples' guns alone will not reduce gun violence. Helping people find purpose, a reason to leave their guns behind, is what's going to reduce gun violence.”
— Sarah Gad

CHICAGO, IL, UNITED STATES, October 27, 2019 / -- Sarah Gad is running for U.S. Congress in Illinois' 1st District. Gad is a third-year law student at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School, whose alumni also include U.S. Senator Amy Klobachaur (D-MN) and former FBI Director James Comey.

Many prominent social justice activists have already voiced their support in favor of Gad's candidacy, including attorney and bestselling author Brian Cuban, music mogul and Innocence Project founder Jason Flom, and former prisoner and Prison Scholars Fund founder Dirk van Velzen. "Sarah knows the system inside and out," says van Velzen. "Her input is invaluable. When it comes to meaningful criminal justice reform, input from people not directly impacted by the system is pretty much meaningless."

Gad, a Woodlawn resident, says she was motivated to pursue law and criminal justice reform after her own experiences on the other side of the law. She describes these experiences in vivid detail in her powerful new campaign video.

Gad's district encompasses the South Side of Chicago, an area plagued by high levels of incarceration, poverty, unemployment, and gun violence⁠—all of which she says are inextricably linked. "Our criminal justice system disproportionately targets people of color and leaves them permanently disenfranchised, unable to find meaningful work or housing. When you have an area comprised of more than 90% communities of color, this is what manifests," says Gad.

Gad's platform emphasizes removing barriers to re-entry, racial and restorative justice, and guaranteeing access to employment and education. She hopes to see Pell Grant access restored to incarcerated students, pointing to a RAND Corporation study linking higher education in correctional facilities to a sharp drop in recidivism and violent crime. "At the end of the day, confiscating peoples' guns alone will not reduce gun violence. Helping people find purpose, a reason to leave their guns behind, is what's going to reduce gun violence," she says.

Gad founded and sits on the board of two successful Chicago-based nonprofits. Her philanthropy work made national headlines earlier this year when she was featured in a Marie Claire article entitled, "My Drug Overdose Saved My Life. Now I'm Saving Others." Gad was awarded the 2019 University of Chicago Humanitarian Award for her service work and contributions to the South Side and Hyde Park communities. If elected, Gad would be the nation's first formerly incarcerated woman ever elected to U.S. Congress.

For more information, please visit Sarah Gad's website at or to set up an interview with Sarah Gad, please contact or 773-236-0041.

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