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Activists canvass in Little Village as Election Day nears

About a dozen volunteers with Enlace Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights carried yard signs and multilingual door-hangers that encourage people to vote.

Citlalli Bueno drops off voting literature on South Harding Avenue in Little Village on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. She was among a group of people urging neighborhood residents to vote in Tuesday’s election.
Citlalli Bueno drops off voting literature on South Harding Avenue in Little Village on Monday. She was among a group of people urging neighborhood residents to vote in Tuesday’s election.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Immigrant leaders walked the streets of Little Village Monday morning leaving fliers on doorsteps in a last-ditch effort to encourage people to vote ahead of Election Day.

Jocelyn Aranda, a fellow with Enlace Chicago, said the goal is to remind residents about Tuesday’s election by dropping off educational literature. Most people “have been pretty receptive on the idea of voting,” Aranda said.

“We are not doing this for us at the end of the day,” she added. “We are doing it for the residents that don’t have direct access to information or internet. We are doing it for the community.”

About a dozen volunteers with Enlace Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights brought yard signs to hand out to residents who wanted them, and hung fliers on doorknobs of those who weren’t home.

“We see this year as being absolutely unprecedented as why it’s really important for folks to get out and actually make their voices heard,” said Veronica Castro, deputy director of Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights. “People are hearing the message that if they don’t participate, our issues are going to get left on the sideline.”

ICIRR Deputy Director Veronica Castro answers questions during a lit drop to get residents to go out and vote on South Harding Ave in Little Village, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
ICIRR Deputy Director Veronica Castro answers questions during a lit drop to get residents to go out and vote on South Harding Ave in Little Village, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Castro said it’s been difficult to court the Latino vote in previous elections because campaigns rarely put much effort into mobilizing the base. That voting bloc is often taken for granted, she said.

“People aren’t talking to us, they are overlooking us,” Castro said. “We are simply not invested in and if you are not talking to Latinos about things they care about, you are not giving them a reason to come out and vote.”

Canvassers — and their fliers — made the case for approving the graduated income tax amendment, which also is on the ballot. It would change Illinois’ current system, in which everyone pays the same income tax rate, regardless of income. People in higher income brackets would be taxed at a higher rate than those in lower income brackets.

“This is an opportunity to have the rich tax at a fairer rate,” Castro said. “It’s not fair that our folks are paying the same rate of taxes, in terms of percentages, as billionaires.”

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.

Brandon Lee hangs voting literature on South Harding Avenue in Little Village on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
Brandon Lee hangs voting literature on South Harding Avenue in Little Village on Monday.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times