CPZ HB 3595

What has Chicago Magazine substantively done over the years to invite readers into the world of state government and politics?

Thank you Chicago Magazine for introducing us to your base in case they have not been in touch with the impactful contributions - both before and during a public health and economic crisis - of the General Assembly members you highlighted in Opinion: There’s No More Invisible Politician than an Illinois State Legislator. Any search on ilga.gov will produce a solid list of successful legislative measures that reflect our deep work on the ground on behalf of the approximately 108,000-216,000 people we each represent. The named group of individuals are legislating with significant impact. Here are some recent examples:

  • Lead service line replacement,
  • First responder mental health,
  • Streamlining Business Enterprise Program Certification for small businesses,
  • State designated cultural districts to spur economic recovery,
  • Protection of first amendment for youth in care,
  • Increased access to higher education pathways,
  • Affordable and accessible child care, and
  • Increased support and real opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.

Singling out legislators who are predominantly people of color, women, and openly gay (coincidentally all members of minoritized* groups in the General Assembly) compels us to ask, is it a coincidence or by design that it is difficult to find any statement of solidarity with the national uprising and accelerated civic engagement that many news outlets and socio-political influencers adopted, amplified and implemented in the wake of George Floyd’s murder? This is especially perplexing because these same legislators championed and executed the charge to address the root causes of failed policy for communities that have been historically marginalized in past sessions.

Furthermore, each of us represent communities that may not have broad readership of your magazine which can safely perpetuate the racism, sexism, and homophobia in this opinion piece without any accountability from constituents and supporters who are more than familiar with our track record. Performing a simple Google search, perusing our social media channels, or speaking to our constituents will reveal significant evidence of outreach, engagement, activism, and collaboration within our districts and across Illinois.

While we understand the purpose of an opinion piece, we are left searching for an application of journalistic standards. It’s disheartening that you allowed something this off-base and unconstructive to be included in your publication given that it promotes itself as “the most highly honored city magazines in the nation.” Instead of leaving readers with inflammatory words strung together by a writer rudderless toward a solution to the disengagement he laments, here’s what we propose your readers consider:

  • Becoming acquainted with state lawmakers is a shared responsibility between constituents, the media, and elected officials. The work is bidirectional and the law professor who admitted to not knowing, or caring to know, his state senator is more of a poor reflection on him given his area of expertise.
  • Confirm if the media source has correspondents covering the subject criticized in opinion pieces (i.e. Does Chicago Magazine have a Springfield correspondent?). Critical consumption of media is a central skill in the 21st century, especially with information overload.
  • Verify opinion pieces like these with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), Latinx, LGBTQ, and women-led sources that offer nuance and uncover complexities that center the world perspectives that are often ignored and diminished by mainstream media and glossy publications.

Chicago Magazine, we disagree with both your tagline, “We (Chicago Magazine) are Chicago, and the bottom line from this opinion piece that the cited General Assembly members are hiding behind a conflated title of “state legislator” and living a “cush” life with no accountability. Many of us have endured sacrifices to operationalize the role of “public servant.” It is a dishonor to our ancestors, descendants, and co-conspirators in this work who inform our strategy to upend systemic -isms and transform government to be for, by, and with the people. You can and should do better.

State Representative Lakesia Collins
State Representative Eva-Dina Delgado
State Representative Frances Ann Hurley
State Representative Lindsey LaPointe
State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas
State Representative Lamont Robinson

*For a definition of minoritized, visit: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/minoritize

Category: Press Releases

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