Matthew Kaplan Photography

Oscar Sanchez Campaigning for 10th Ward Alderman - 12/11/22

"I'm running because I love this community!" Oscar Sanchez replied to my very obvious question, as I followed the activist turned aldermanic candidate on Sunday afternoon, while he canvassed the modest homes on Avenue H in the 10th ward.

"When I say I love my community" Oscar continued, approaching another front door with clipboard and literature in hand, "I'm thinking, what are ways that we can actually uplift the life that's here. How can we ensure that we have safety, for folks to be able to walk to the grocery store, for people to be able to walk to school. Kids being able to play outside without their parents being afraid that they're playing in contaminated soil."

Reflecting on the pandemic, Oscar explained, "I've seen people I love pass away. I've seen many people suffer, especially here in the 10th ward, where we have the highest amounts of respiratory issues, and some of the lowest air quality in Illinois."

"Being from this community, I think we've allowed ourselves to say, 'what's the minimum we need to survive?' We don't deserve to just survive. We deserve to have a thriving, prospering community!"

I first met Oscar two years ago, during the campaign against the General Iron metal shredder, which grassroots activists from the southeast side waged and won. It took months of vigorous protests, including a much publicized 30 day hunger strike by Oscar and others, to convince the mayor that moving a polluting industry from the affluent north side to this environmentally burdened, mostly Black and Brown community along the Calumet River, was very simply wrong.

Now Oscar Sanchez is taking his activism into the political world, running for Chicago city council. Since he announced his candidacy, the favored incumbent Sue Sadlowski Garza has dropped out of the race, leaving the contest wide open.

Earlier in the day, Oscar and his campaign brought breakfast to the residents of a senior home in Hegewisch, where he learned about the issues important to another segment of the community, pedestrian safety around their building on the busy thoroughfare Avenue O.

Election Day is February 28th.

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