Interview with Garcia Jesus

When did people recognize the need for independent political action?


Well after the, ah, '80 election and the census, ah, as we were approaching 1982, I think people were starting to hurt from the recession, from the Reagan policies initiated, ah, by that administration and locally there seemed to be a lot of parties going on. Jane Byrne was making Chicago a party town, a festival here, a festival there. Let them eat cake, type of an attitude. And I think the people were saying, "Well this may be entertaining but we're hurting." People were concerned about jobs. People were concerned about whether or not they could make ends meet with public aid, with unemployment compensation, ah, a gubernatorial race was heating up, ah, in the State of Illinois and all forecasts were that those types of policies would probably continue. I think people started to get fed up. Latinos by this time had begun to understand that they were the fastest growing group in the city, the state, and the country. However, we didn't have any representation in City Hall, in the State Legislature, in Congress, just a few. There, there was also a theme going around that the '80s were going to be decade of the Hispanic. And I think all of these things came into play and people said, "Well, if this is going to be our decade, we better get moving here before the sun goes down."