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USA: Waiting to see if Chicago’s new mayor is friend or foe to Latinos

By Debbie Gordils



CHICAGO, USA — What a week in Chicago!

The former White House Chief of Staff of the United States came home to Chicago and won the mayoral seat with less than 42% of the vote, a feat not accomplished in close to 100 years.

I wish that as an American of Hispanic descent I would be at ease with the choice. However, Rahm Emanual has not been a friend to immigration or Latino issues during his political career.

Will his leadership send Latino advances, in one of the largest cities in the world, into a backward slide?

I am an optimist and so I hope…no. I believe Latinos, new and old, possess an abundance of knowledge as to what we have attained and what is yet to be accomplished.


Chicago’s new mayor Rahm Emanuel waves to crowd during his victory rally on Tuesday, February 22, 2011.

(Photo: Tribune: Abel Uribe)

It is this belief, that has me in long meetings, strategizing on how we will empower the Chicago Hispanic population to know their value and through this empowerment strenthen themselves and the community around them.

I have to share this additional election footnote — My 3rd grade daughter said to me on election day that during her school recess, she asked two friends whom would they vote for — Rahm Emanual or Geri Chico.

One responded Rahm, the other hestitated and then said she too would vote for Rahm. Petra, my daughter, responded, “But he does not support Spanish people and he is going to raise taxes.”

The friends responded, “So we are still going to vote for him.”

Petra, who went into the voting booth with me and is very in tune with my work, responded, “You guys must not vote because you don’t know what I know.” LOL

When Rahm won the next day, she commented, “Hmmm, lots of people don’t know what I know.”

Our children trust us to make the right decisions and excercise our voices in the political process. We must come to identify the issues that are important to us and then share that message like children in a school yard anxious to discuss, learn and share.

Learn about Debbie

Debbie Gordils is a single Latina mom with two daughters, one adopted and one with special needs. When she isn’t freelancing as a consultant to the Republican Party and working on Hispanic outreach in Chicago, she has run for political office.

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