Aldermanic candidate Wendi Taylor Nations crusades against crime, and in her case it’s personal

Nations, who is running in 43rd Ward, was once molested on a CTA staircase.

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Wendi Taylor Nations, who is running for alderwoman of the 43rd Ward, has been the victim of a deeply personal crime.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The city’s crime surge.

Its spike in the last few years has created a sea of victims.

It has also become a motivating issue for candidates running for political office in the upcoming city elections.

For 43d ward aldermanic candidate Wendi Taylor Nations, 59, the motivation is personal.

Nations is one of the victims.

Sexually assaulted in her ward in 2021, Nations is one of five candidates running against Ald. Timmy Knudsen, appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to the seat after Ald. Michele Smith retired in August.

“It is something you never forget, a constant reminder to be careful,” Nations said in an interview, whose attack by a masked man on a CTA platform during the pandemic helped make her campaign very personal.

“How careful can we be in this era of soaring citywide crime?” asked Nations, who is legendary in her ward for once publicly confronting an avariciously hungry land developer who subsequently went to jail. 

Nations, a communications exec who has the strong backing of Smith, uses the CTA attack she experienced in her ward in an appeal for more effective policing and the removal of Chicago’s top cop David Brown, a Lightfoot appointee. 

In an exclusive in-depth interview, Nations agreed to go into more detail of what happened to her on a summer’s day a year and a half ago in a CTA station at Armitage Avenue.

Nations was on her way to work, around 8:30 or 9 a.m. on July 7, 2021.

“It was a COVID summer day in 2021 and everyone was wearing masks,” said Nations. “I was wearing a sort of free-flowing, pink dress topped by a blue jeans jacket.”

As she went up the stairs to the Armitage station of the Brown Line, “I saw this tall, thin white guy in a mask and a hoodie and wearing sunglasses standing above me” on the platform.

“I was halfway up to the platform ... when this guy suddenly started climbing down the stairs off the platform in a big hurry,” she said.

“The next thing I knew he was flying past me,” and then he jumped onto the stair right behind her.

He “totally blindsided me. He reached up the back of my dress and [put] his hand into my underwear!” she said. She screamed, but there were no police around. 

“I tried to push him away … push him downstairs … and unsuccessfully tried to hit him with the cellphone I had in my right hand,” she said.

But he then turned around and ran back up the stairs and caught a departing train.

Gone. She looked around for a station manager but couldn’t find anyone. She ended up catching a train to her job, where she called the police.

“I don’t think I quite realized what happened to me until I got to the office and my colleagues expressed horror and sympathy for me,” she said.

She said police and the CTA were helpful, but she couldn’t identify her attacker from images from CTA video of the incident.

Despite the nature of the attack, police classified it as a “battery.”

“They said it was a frequent happening,” she said.

Looking back, she still remembers the pain the attack caused.

“All I knew when I was being assaulted was the raw anger going through me,” she said.

“It was such a violation and he put me in danger,” she said. “I don’t like being touched by strangers anyway, so this was truly violating my space.”

Nations, who thinks Lightfoot does not deserve a second term due to the city’s crime surge since she took office, claims statistics in her ward show an increase in stolen cars … as well as an increase in ward crimes committed with a weapon. 

Crime is the top concern of ward residents and all residents city-wide, she says.

She wants to put more police officers on the streets and provide immediate information on crimes to residents. She also thinks the city needs to spend more money on finding CPS students who dropped out and didn’t return to school during the pandemic.

“None of this should be happening,” said Nations.  “None of this. You have to stay and fight to find the solution.”

Sneedlings…

Condolences to the family of Andy McKenna Sr., who died recently. A true gentleman, class act, and old friend who always returned my calls lickety split. … Congrats to Kevin and Mia Carroll on their third wedding anniversary. Saturday birthdays: singer Kelly Rowland, 42; singer Brandy, 44, and actress Jennifer Aniston, 54. Sunday birthdays: actress Christina Ricci, 43; actor Josh Brolin, 55, and comic Arsenio Hall, 67.

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