Interview with Garcia Jesus
QUESTION 5
DALE ROSEN:

Describe the attitudes of some of Mexican American attitudes toward Blacks, some of the racism that existed in the community prior to the campaign.

JESUS GARCIA:

The relationships between Latinos and Blacks in the city had never been very good. There really weren't any relations. Relationships basically, ah, ah, ah, were born when Latinos would hear that a, a Black person robbed this Latino woman, that Mexican, some Mexican guys went and beat up a couple of Black guys, ah, for no reason. There was racial polarization about the use of a park in the community. These were the types of relationships that existed. The Harold Washington campaign focused in on the economics of things. People be, began to realize that working people all over the country were hurting, Blacks, Latinos, Whites, all working people were losing jobs, were all concerned about the future. And it was the sense that we had to fight to better the conditions of all people. I think that was the most important message that Harold Washington was sending out that managed to cut through the racism because everyone was concerned about making ends meet, about survival, about living in communities that were healthy economically in terms of health care, ah, in terms of, ah, jobs in terms of dealing with the social problems, gangs, drugs, ah, dirty streets. And Harold Washington was talking about decency. He was talking about fairness. He was talking about reform and re-prioritizing the needs of the city so that the neighborhoods could become better places for everyone.