Independent Commission Backs Latin Caucus’ Map of Chicago Neighborhoods | Chicago News

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(WTTW News)

On Wednesday, a coalition of community groups led by Change Illinois officially endorsed the neighborhood map developed by the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus.

Announcing their support, the group officially dropped its efforts to convince the city council to adopt the proposed Chicago neighborhood map based on the 2020 census. a year to convince city council members to give up the power to choose their own voters, while punishing their enemies and bolstering their allies with a map that will determine political power in Chicago for the next decade.

The map produced by the Chicago Ward Advisory Redistricting Commission would have increased the number of wards with a majority of Latino voters from one to 14, while reducing the number of wards with a majority of Black voters from three to 15 wards.

This proposal was blocked immediately, having failed to obtain the approval of a single city councilman, since the Latino caucus refused to approve a map with fewer than 15 districts with a majority of Latino voters.

At the same time, the City Council’s Black Caucus refused to accept this map, instead supporting a proposal that creates 16 wards with a majority of black voters and one ward with a plurality of black voters.

A Chicago Ward Map proposal supported by the Chicago City Council Black Caucus.  (Provided)A Chicago Ward Map proposal supported by the Chicago City Council Black Caucus. (Provided)

The maps backed by both caucuses would create the first ward in Chicago history to have a majority of Asian American voters.

The polarized debate over race has only worsened since the start of the year, increasing the likelihood that voters will decide what the new neighborhood map will look like for the first time in 30 years. To adopt a map and avoid a referendum, 41 aldermen must agree no later than May 19, the deadline for the finalization of the June 28 primary ballot.

President of the Caucus Latino Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th arrondissement) said he was preparing to plead the cause of the group’s card with voters.

“Today marks a turning point in our efforts to bring more transparency and accountability to the mapping process,” Villegas said in a statement.

Aldus. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), a member of the Black Caucus who as head of the rules committee oversaw the map drawing process, declined to comment when contacted by WTTW News.

Aldus. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) said in a statement that the Latino Caucus-backed map “disenfranchises black voters” by creating more neighborhoods on the West Side. This serves to “dilute (e) black voices in historic communities,” Ervin said in a statement.

Ryan Tolley, director of policy for Change Illinois, acknowledged that it had been frustrating to see the work of the Chicago Ward Advisory Redistricting Commission ignored by the city council.

“We had to climb a big hill,” Tolley said. “This is the next stage of the fight.”

To win the support of Change Illinois, supporters of the map backed by the Latino Caucus agreed to make several changes to the map filed with the Chicago City Clerk’s office, triggering a referendum.

Those changes include creating two wards, rather than three, to include Englewood, with the boundary line drawn between Englewood and West Englewood, officials said. Additionally, Woodlawn and Washington Park would be in the same neighborhood, officials said.

However, the process of reviewing the map already filed with the city clerk is not straightforward. The revised Latino Caucus-backed map could be submitted as an ordinance, which could allow 41 aldermen to vote for it, settling the debate and possibly triggering a lawsuit.

A proposed Chicago neighborhood map approved by the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus and Change Illinois. [Provided]A proposed Chicago neighborhood map approved by the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus and Change Illinois. [Provided]

If a majority of the city council adopts the map backed by the Black Caucus, the revised map backed by the Latino Caucus can be tabled as an amended referendum, officials said.

Chicago’s black population fell 10%, its Latino population jumped 5% and its Asian American population jumped 30%, according to the 2020 census.

Latinos became the city’s largest ethnic group in 2017, according to US census data. Chicago residents are 31.4% white, 29.9% Latino, 28.7% black and 6.9% Asian, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

State law requires that Chicago neighborhoods be “nearly equal as far as possible” while being as “contiguous” and “compact” as possible.

Given that Chicago’s population in 2020 was 2,746,388, each neighborhood should have a population of 54,928, according to data presented to the Chicago City Council.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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