Illinois ‘fair map’ plans for Legislature and Congress unfair to Latinos

The current legislative maps empower Latinos to elect leaders who truly represent our best interests.

SHARE Illinois ‘fair map’ plans for Legislature and Congress unfair to Latinos

A poll worker at the Su Nueva Lavanderia polling place uses rubber gloves on March 17 as she enters a ballot in the ballot box in Chicago.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

If the past decade has shown us anything, it is that as Latinos go, so goes the nation. This past decade we have risen not only in numbers, but also up through the ranks, bringing legislative and political victories to Illinois.

While many states are taking outrageous steps to silence Latino voices and deny our rights, Illinois boldly embraces ways to create a representative democracy. Specifically, the current legislative maps empower Latinos to elect leaders who truly represent our best interests and to strengthen the diversity of the state Legislature. As leaders from Illinois’ Latino communities, we question the new proposed “fair map” plan and stand ready to protect and expand the rights of Latino voters.

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Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, barriers to voting and representation have been reduced while we are more empowered to holding politicians accountable to the people. The proposed “fair map” plan is fundamentally unfair to communities of color and rolls back the civic wins and safeguards we’ve had. Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans have achieved electoral successes that are more representative of their numbers and interests through the processes in place.

The historic numbers of Latino representation in Illinois, major legislative accomplishments like the Illinois Dream Act and the TRUST Act, and the advancements we are seeing in Latino communities show that under the current mapmaking process we can draw fair districts that empower people of color to speak up for their communities and move our state in a fundamentally better direction.

The untested “fair map” proposals offer no guarantee that those people drawing districts will represent our communities and our interests. In fact, those chosen would almost certainly be the wealthy and the well-connected. And while we can ultimately hold our elected officials accountable for drawing districts that do not reflect our communities, our families have no such check on appointed commissioners who do not answer to our families.

There’s nothing fair about a mapmaking process that silences Latino voices. And when combined with the outrageous voter suppression efforts in other states, this practically guarantees a congressional and legislative majority that does not reflect our true diversity.

Instead, we should continue to empower communities of color by creating fair and representative districts through the current mapmaking process that we know works.

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García

State Sen. Celina Villanueva

State Sen. Tony Muñoz

State Rep. Jaime Andrade

State Rep. Delia Ramirez

State Rep. Theresa Mah

State Rep. Barbara Hernandez

State Sen. Omar Aquino

State Sen. Iris Martinez

State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez

State Rep. Aaron Oritz

State Rep. Eva Dina Delgado

State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr.

Cornerstone of Americana

The changes Major League Baseball is contemplating for minor league ball border on being un-American. Eliminating significant portions of minor league baseball, because of the pandemic, would erode a cornerstone of Americana.

When our great country is in need of community, hope and joy, why take away a gateway to everlasting memories? And if a desire to save money is driving this debate, I say look in the mirror, Major League Baseball ownership, and rethink the downside of these changes.

Not every minor league community in America can live up to your lofty facility standards, but last I looked, the game itself is still played on a field of grass and soil.

Major League Baseball should partner with communities to improve facilities, setting an example of collaboration. What would Major League Baseball truly accomplish without a full contingent of minor league teams?

I believe the answer is the theft of a rite of passage for every man, woman and child in America.

Charles Evranian, former director of player development and scouting, Chicago White Sox

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