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As progressive aldermen, we support the Chicago Coalition Map

It’s important that the map-making process is transparent and community-driven. That’s why we’ve signed onto the Chicago Coalition Map, supported by alderpeople across the city.

Chicago City Council is drawing new ward maps for the city.
The Chicago City Council is drawing new ward maps for the city.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Political remapping at multiple levels of government has taken up the news cycle for months, but now Chicago gets its turn. A once-in-a-decade process is taking place inside City Hall: Aldermen are changing the boundaries of all 50 wards to reflect the population data in the 2020 census. As a result, residents may find themselves shifted into a new ward with a new alderperson and wonder how these new maps were created.

As members of the Chicago City Council who fight for progressive values, it’s important to us that the map-making process is transparent and community-driven. That’s why we’ve signed onto the Chicago Coalition Map, supported by alderpeople across the city.

This map follows several important principles:

  • One person, one vote. This is required by law and means that all 50 wards need to have an equal number of people so that each voter carries equal power when they vote.
  • Fair representation based on census data. Chicagoans should be empowered through representation by people from their communities.
  • Neighborhoods should be kept together. Wherever possible, neighborhoods should have one alderperson, not multiple.
  • Transparency. Our map must be released publicly so that negotiations can take place in the open, and not behind closed doors.

Chicago’s population has undergone significant changes in the last 10 years. Today, 30% of Chicagoans identify as Latino, 29% as Black, 31% as white and 7% as Asian. The Chicago Coalition Map creates wards that reflect the city’s diversity. The map establishes 15 Latino-majority wards, 16 Black-majority wards, three additional majority-minority wards and, for the first-time ever, one ward that unifies the Asian community.

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Previous maps sliced and diced communities, making it harder for residents to organize and advocate. The Coalition Map respects community boundaries and keeps neighborhoods together, like Ashburn, Hyde Park, Lake View and Woodlawn. Communities such as Albany Park, Bridgeport, Chinatown, Englewood and Pilsen are finally unified, and we created a new ward for all of Marquette Park.

There are so many challenges facing our city. The only way we ensure that communities have a voice in City Council to address these challenges is to pass a fair map that mirrors the actual makeup of the city and gives everyone a voice.

Ald. Sue Garza, 10th Ward; Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th Ward; Ald. Felix Cardona, 31st Ward; Ald. Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward; Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward; Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th Ward

Where do you buy your coffee?

Interim Parks Supt. Rosa Escareno says next year’s proposed property increase for the Park District will amount to $4 for the “average homeowner,” which Escareno says is “the cost of a cup of coffee.”

While we can guess where Escareno buys her coffee, she should be aware that most of the people she is taxing to finance her vision for the parks do not spend $4 on a cup of coffee. In fact, people trying to economize make their coffee at home for, taking the cost of ground coffee and the depreciation of a reasonably priced coffeemaker into account, probably less than 5 cents a cup.

Perhaps Escareno, and her colleagues in government, should try such economizing; doing so might render the tax increases they seek unnecessary. However, even speculating that government might engage in such frugality would make readers wonder what is in my coffee.

Mark M. Quinn, Naperville

Trauma can make victims of violence into perpetrators

I applaud the recent concern for victims of harm shown in the discussion on the impact of bringing back parole in Illinois. But if we are to move toward genuine healing for our communities, then we need to stop assuming a clear-cut division between perpetrators and victims of harm, who are often the same people. As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt others.”

As an incarcerated woman, I am particularly attuned to the women in prison who are also victims of violence. In fact, studies and reports indicate that 98% of incarcerated females are survivors of trauma and violence; 90% have been physically abused by partners and family; and 80% have survived sexual violence. These survivors are among the people who need opportunities for parole.

Victim advocate Danielle Sered speaks for many when she says the state should offer more to victims than the perpetrators’ lengthy incarceration. More importantly, the state should support healing and trauma recovery as well as pathways home, like parole, which can motivate people in prison to reflect on the harm they’ve caused and transform violence into healing.

Karen McCarron, Logan Correctional Center, Lincoln