Reject ward remap plan that would destroy Black representation on City Council

A remap created by CHANGE Illinois and the Latino Caucus would destroy historic Black wards on both the West and South sides.

SHARE Reject ward remap plan that would destroy Black representation on City Council
Ald. Jason C. Ervin (28th) discusses the process of remapping wards during a press conference where the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus present their proposed ward remap on Nov. 22, 2021.

Ald. Jason C. Ervin (28th) discusses the process of remapping wards during a press conference where the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus present their proposed ward remap on Nov. 22, 2021.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

As leader of the City Council’s Aldermanic Black Caucus, I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting the call from CHANGE Illinois and the City Council’s Latino Caucus to vote for a ward redistricting plan that decimates Black representation in Chicago.

Their plan was crafted principally by Latino Caucus attorney Victor Reyes, who is also “Lawyer A” mentioned throughout the recent federal corruption indictment against Michael Madigan’s federal corruption indictment, and it is supported by only 15 of the 50 City Council members.

As important, this plan would destroy historic Black wards on both the West and South sides. In fact, their original plan would have reduced Black representation by four wards.

The current plan they plan to bring to a vote removes two-thirds of the current 27th Ward as it literally cuts the ward into five pieces. It removes nearly 60% of my own 28th Ward on the West Side. On the South Side, it does the same, removing 55% of the 6th Ward, 62% of the 16th Ward, and 62% of the 17th Ward. Every Black alderperson in the city, save one, opposes this plan.

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CHANGE Illinois nonetheless asks us to vote for this anti-Black plan, wrongly claiming that a vote would simply “reset the clock.” But any plan passed by the City Council would become immediately and legally effective just like any other ordinance we pass. How could we enact a plan into law that destroys representation for our constituents?

CHANGE has complained about the level of transparency and openness at the City Council and a “back room” at City Hall. However, the City Council held 12 separate public meetings and received input from hundreds of Chicagoans. The council created an open website where citizens could even draw and submit their own maps.

As of today, the CHANGE and Latino Caucus plan has never been publicly released in a format allowing full analysis. There were no public hearings, no testimony from anyone, no input from any Black community groups.

CHANGE has long advocated for a so-called “independent commission” to be created to redraw the city’s ward map, arguing that legislators should not draw districts. But the plan before City Council was drawn by CHANGE and 15 members of City Council. Apparently, it’s now OK for those council members to draw districts, as long as it is drawn with them.

Jason Ervin is the 28th Ward alderman and chair of the Aldermanic Black Caucus.

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