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Voting is Activism! Leveraging our Power through Voting

March 2, 2023:

We just had our first municipal election with new voting districts. None of the mayoral candidates obtained more than 50% of the vote, so the two candidates with the highest number of votes will compete for the office in a run-off election on April 4th, 2023. Those candidates for Chicago Mayor are, Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas.

Affinity Community Services will hold a candidate forum later this month in collaboration with several other Black and Brown led LGBTQ organizations. This is an opportunity for Affinity community members to understand how each candidate plans to address the diversity of needs and issues in our community.

Brandon Johnson has a page on his website dedicated to LGBTQ issues, as well as other issues like affordable housing, public safety/police reform and other issues impacting the intersection of identities that Black LGBTQ Chicagoans face.

Paul Vallas does not have a similar page directly addressing LGBTQ issues on his website, however, in his previous campaign from 2019, he did answer a survey from the ACLU of Illinois addressing his stance on issues regarding the LGBTQ community in terms of policing and healthcare access. During this campaign, Vallas highlighted his support for domestic partner benefits during his tenure at CPS, but was criticized by some LGTBQ+ groups for engaging with anti-LGBTQ groups and politicians. During his recent campaign he spoke at an event sponsored by a group that has been criticized for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Vallas later condemned the group.

While we don’t have a full analysis of demographic turnout, Black Chicagoan’s turnout in majority Black wards was low. Wards that had the highest voter turnout were in areas with very small Black populations.

The Black LGBTQ community and our straight Black allies have an opportunity to make a huge impact in the run-off election for Mayor and to make sure our voices and issues are heard. To use this power we must get out to vote on April 4th, 2023. For more information on voter registration and how to vote in the run-off election we recommend the Chicago League of Women Voters.

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