Jeanette Taylor

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Jeanette B. Taylor is a South Chicago activist.

Socialism 2019

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Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union; Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Chicago alderperson for the 35th Ward; Alyxandra Goodwin, co-chair of the Chicago chapter of the Black Youth Project 100; Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, Chicago alderperson for the 33rd Ward; Jeanette Taylor, Chicago alderperson for the 20th Ward; and Kevin Coval, poet and activist, at the Socialism 2019 Conference in Chicago in July.

Victories

Three aldermanic candidates endorsed and supported by Chicago Democratic Socialists of America won seats on city council April 2 2019 in the Chicago municipal runoff elections. In the 20th Ward, Jeanette Taylor won with 59.64% of the vote and will be taking the seat formerly held by indicted Willie Cochran. Similarly in the 25th ward, Byron Sigcho Lopez, who won with 54.31% of the vote, will be succeeding Danny Solis, formerly the powerful chair of the Zoning committee. In the 40th ward, Andre Vasquez defeated the nine-term incumbent Pat O’Connor with 53.93% of the vote.

A fourth CDSA endorsed candidate, Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, is in a tight race with Deb Mell in the 33rd Ward. After bringing Mell to the first runoff in the ward since the 1930s, Rodriguez-Sanchez was up by 64 votes with all precincts reporting. The winner of that race will be determined after absentee ballots are accounted for and a recount is completed.

The new aldermen will join Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a democratic socialist incumbent in the 35th Ward, and newcomer 1st Ward alderman Daniel La Spata, another CDSA member. Both Ramirez-Rosa and La Spata won their races outright during the first round of voting on February 26. That means that, in a 50 seat city council, at least 10% will be members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

“As democratic socialists, we’re ready to build a Chicago for all of us, not just a wealthy few,” said Lucie Macías, one of two Chicago DSA co-chairs. “Our Chicago for All platform is based on three main planks: Housing for all, Sanctuary for all and Education for all. We’re excited to build a socialist caucus in city hall to carry out this agenda and fight for Chicago’s working class.”

Over the last six months, CDSA endorsed the four aforementioned candidates and supported them with canvasses and other volunteer work. CDSA’s Chicago For All platform represented issues the chapter organized around before the elections, like lifting the ban on rent control in Illinois, stopping the construction of a new $95 million cop academy, and creating a democratically elected school board for Chicago.[1]

DSA members running for Council

Rossana Rodriguez won more votes in the February election than Mell, a former Illinois state representative, and is now one of four members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) vying for a city council seat in the 2 April runoff, along with Andre Vasquez, Byron Sigcho Lopez and Jeanette Taylor.

Two other Democratic Socialists of America members, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Daniel La Spata, have already won seats outright.[2]

DSA endorsement

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Council run

In February 2019 Jeanette Taylor was at the front of the runoff in Chicago's twentieth ward.

Taylor doesn’t identify as a socialist but is a longtime anti-gentrification and public education activist on the historically black South Side and recently organized against the Obama presidential library and went on hunger strike against a school closure.[3]

IWD 2019

You know people are having fun at a political event when community activist Jeanette Taylor, a candidate for city council, gets the room to sing along to Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman! The feeling continued when Christel Williams, a candidate for a principal office in the Chicago Teachers Union, led the singing of Ella’s Song.

The mood at Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! ’s event for International Women’s Day 2019 was festive, but also militant. As Erica Anna of FRSO said at the outset, “Our program for this evening includes musical performances, some poetry, and a drag performance, as well as words from women active in local movements. Though International Women’s Day isn’t broadly celebrated in the U.S., we wanted to come together to lift up the revolutionary tradition of this day, honor the contributions of all people oppressed for their gender, and create some joy in a society that sees us as playthings and property.”

Taylor had led the fight to save Dyett High School in the Bronzeville community, and now is a leading advocate for community control of the police through an elected, civilian police accountability council (CPAC).

More than 150 people attended the March 9 event.

Speakers included Sue Sadlowski Garza, the alderwoman from Chicago’s 10th Ward, who introduced herself as the first member of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to sit on the city council; Jazmine Salas and Veronica Tirado Mercado from Chicago Boricua Resistance, committed to fighting the U.S. pillage of Puerto Rico; Jen Conant, chair of the CTU Chicago International Charter School council, and a leader in the victorious nine-day strike of teachers and paraprofessionals in February; and Love Jordan of Gabriela, the Filipina patriotic women’s organization. Later, another CTU militant, Tara Stamps, rose to call for support for Shoneice Reynolds, a mentor for Black students in the Oak Park/River Forest schools. Reynolds was suspended because of recent Black high school student protests on the anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin.

Alexandra Westberry, a trans woman, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society at College of DuPage, and a member of FRSO, spoke about how the oppression of women is built into this capitalist society.

“Trump’s rise to power, with his overt sexual aggression and interest in male domination, has borne out intensified attacks on women. In response, masses of women have risen up in opposition. There have been millions of women in the streets and in defiant resistance to the pigs in power,” said Westberry.

Westberry concluded, “I am hopeful that in groups like this, we can build the revolutionary fight against patriarchy together, from the Philippines, to Puerto Rico, to right here in Chicago.”[4]

References