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Latinos have become Chicago’s second-largest ethnic group. Photo: Getty
Latinos have become Chicago’s second-largest ethnic group. Photo: Getty

Latino politicians could revolutionize Chicago

In a once heavily segregated city, Latinos have become a third of Chicago's population (and their political representation is increasing).

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Racial difference is a fundamental element in the formation of American society. From slavery, through the struggle for civil rights, to Black Lives Matter, the racial component has been the apple of discord in many political debates.

And Chicago has been the epicenter of that.

Known as the "Black Metropolis," this city has traditionally been the "black political empowerment capital" with an active representation of the community since 1928.

However, according to Chicago Magazine, the black population of the state has decreased considerably during in recent years while the Hispanic population has increased to the point of representing a third of the total (29.7%).

As numbers grow, Latinos become citizens, old enough to vote and, now, become actively engaged in politics.

This reconfiguration of demography has made it possible to see how the Latino population outlines itself as "younger and with a higher birth rate than whites or blacks," according to a study by the Urban Institute, which has given way to an increase in the number of Latino candidates, currently holding 11 City Council seats (compared to the 18 held by African Americans) and, as Chicago Magazine continues, "they’re expecting more in the future."

"Latinos are also moving in on white ethnic turf," the report reads. "Retiring 23rd Ward alderman Michael Zalewski is being replaced by Silvana Tabares. Chuy Garcia and his followers are challenging the powerful Burke dynasty, which has reigned on the Southwest Side for 65 years. Aaron Ortiz, a Garcia protégé, defeated state Rep. Dan Burke in the March Democratic primary, and there’s talk of running a Latino candidate against Ald. Ed Burke next February."

The Latino political force in Chicago is proof that the size of the Hispanic population in the country really needs to be taken seriously.

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