trad. Victor Flores
The Illinois Latino Agenda, a collaboration of 49 Latino-serving organizations, presented maps Monday outlining 16 Latino House districts, along with a proposal for 4 Latino Senate districts, for consideration by the Illinois legislature as part of current redistricting efforts. The 20 proposed districts represent consensus from the Agenda, a broad coalition of city- and suburban-based Latino-serving nonprofits, the largest Latino coalition in the region.
“If Illinois’ two million-plus Latinos were proportionately represented, there would be 28 Latino-elected leaders in Springfield. There are just 12 such leaders today. The disparity is troubling, given that Latinos are the second-largest racial and ethnic group in the state,” says Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum and Agenda co-convener. “However, given the geographic dispersion of our growing Latino community, the Agenda is calling for the creation of 20 Latino majority, influence, or coalition districts.”
The proposed Agenda maps include 13 Latino-majority House districts, with the Latino community accounting for more than 50 percent of the population. Nine of these proposed districts–three on Chicago’s North Side, five on Chicago’s South Side, and one in suburban Aurora–have at least a 65 percent Latino population.
“History and legal precedent have shown us that 65 percent is the minimum threshold for political effectiveness in the Latino community,” says Agenda Member Michael Rodriguez, executive director of ENLACE Chicago. “Latino political clout is tempered by the youth of our community–nearly 40 percent is under the voting age of 18–and the portion of non-citizens.”
The proposed maps also include provisions for three Latino influence districts, which include a 20-plus percent Latino population, in Joliet and Rockford/Belvidere, with a third in Evanston and adjacent communities on Chicago’s North Side. The Agenda also calls for the creation of at least four Latino Senate districts, given that Illinois redistricting criteria call for Senate districts to be ‘nested’ within two contiguous House districts.
Districts are proposed in…