Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s race for Congress felt “the Bern” of support that only Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could provide at a recent campaign rally in Chicago.
The political rally entitled “America’s Progressive Future: Rally with Bernie Sanders and Chuy Garcia” was a standing room only affair by the time Garcia made his way to the podium as he was showered with chants of “Chuy!” The event was held in the Little Village neighborhood at Apollos 2000, 2875 W. Cermak Rd. In what was once a crowded field, Garcia has become the presumed frontrunner for the fourth Congressional district of Illinois in the upcoming March primary. If elected, he will be replacing incumbent Luis Gutierrez, who is not seeking re-election.
Garcia was the second to last speaker at the free rally as Sanders would close the scheduled two-hour long event. He rolled out portions of his platform to a predominantly Hispanic audience which featured his support of undocumented workers, safe and respectful workplaces for women, a $15 minimum wage, and support of public education and housing for all communities as he proclaimed he wanted to “fight Trump” in Congress. Although he didn’t speak for long, less than 15 minutes, what he said had a resounding impact on those in attendance as boisterous cheers rang throughout the colossal venue after nearly every point he made.
“We should be so happy and proud of what we are working on to transform politics in the Chicagoland region and the fourth district is representative of that aspiration for a better union,” said Garcia. “We are here today because we want Bernie Sanders to know that the revolution is alive and well in the Chicagoland area.”
Sanders, who was also met with chants of “Bernie,” said although he’s a friend of Garcia, applauded his campaign for mayor of Chicago in 2015, and thanked him for his support during his presidential campaign, he said he came to Chicago because, “We are living in a pivotal moment in American history, we need strong progressive voices in Washington and Chuy Garcia will be that voice.”
“This is an unprecedented moment in American history,” Sanders continued. “The future of this country, in fact, the future of the world, and the future of our children, and the future of our grandchildren depends on what you do, and what you do, and what you do.”
Sanders implored attendees to not only send Garcia to Washington but to do so in convincing fashion come election time. He said the timing for the vote was critical as he called President Trump a “pathological liar who has told outright lies hundreds and hundreds of times since he has been elected.”
“The biggest lie that [Trump] told during his campaign was that he was going to stand for the working families of this country; what an outrageous lie,” said Sanders. “We need members in Congress who are not only prepared to stand up to Trump and his racism and xenophobia.”
The Garcia/Sanders rally garnered support from outside the Little Village community as African Americans hailing from Chicago’s South Side were among those in attendance.
Kahalem Mathews, 20, wanted to see how the race for Congress involving Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was developing firsthand. That’s why the West Pullman resident decided to attend the rally after his classes at Richard J. Daley College where he’s a senator for the school’s student government. He said he will share his experience at the Garcia/Sanders rally with his classmates.
“I’ve been following Chuy Garcia for a minute,” said Mathews, a first time voter. “I wanted to come out and show my support and get the feel for what this election was all about.”
Mathews told the Defender that Garcia’s stance on supporting net neutrality was an important topic for him.
Rashieda Weaver, a current South Shore resident, who worked on Garcia’s mayoral campaign, stated the energy at the rally gave her encouragement to continue to be a part of the electoral process. She said the rally was the first event she attended in support of Chuy for Congress.
“When you get down to it, it’s still about knocking on doors even though we do social media, and I do social media; in the very, very end you gotta talk to somebody and you’ve got to let them know I like this person, and as my neighbor this is the reason why you should too… otherwise they vote on emotion,” said Weaver.