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  WINDY CITY TIMES

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz headlines DuPage Democrats annual gala
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-04-18

This article shared 1051 times since Wed Apr 18, 2018
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San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen YulÃn Cruz gave the keynote address at the Democratic Party of DuPage County's ( DPDC ) annual gala, Blue Wave 2018: Year of the Woman, April 15 at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Ahead of Cruz's remarks, Rep. Luis Gutierrez spoke about his connection to Cruz and the work she has done for the people of her city and Puerto Rico on the whole both before and after Hurricane Maria. Gutierrez explained that Cruz has fought for LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights for decades as well as been an advocate for #BlackLivesMatter long before it became a hashtag.

"She is my Sojourner Truth," said Gutierrez.

Cruz ( who got a standing ovation both before and after her remarks ) told the over 700 people in attendance she was humbled to be at the event. She explained that she is two generations removed from extreme poverty and that changed due to her grandmother's insistence on learning how to read.

Talking about Hurricane Maria, Cruz said that devastating event is the dividing line in her life. She said her greatest fear is Puerto Rico will never be the same again and that for the first days after the hurricane hit there was silence on the island except for the cries coming from people in distress. Cruz excoriated the GOP, including President Donald Trump, and FEMA for their lack of response following the hurricane. She said Trump is the hater in chief who has no respect for human dignity and is killing the people of Puerto Rico with "his bureaucracy."

Cruz recounted her interactions with Trump when he came to Puerto Rico including the fact that he would not look her in the eyes or say hello to her. She spoke about the infamous paper towel incident and how disrespectful that was to her and the people of Puerto Rico. Cruz also said she will never shut up or back down from fighting for what is right and just in the world.

"He ( Trump ) was being neglectful on purpose and that is an act of aggression," said Cruz.

In terms of her fellow American citizens, Cruz noted that unlike the federal government's lackluster response everyday Americans offered assistance immediately including Chicagoans who sent 75,000 pounds of food and water to Puerto Rico.

Cruz also called on everyone to vote in Nov. for more Democrats because she needs friends in high places. She said voting blue is essential to fight against injustice and ignorance as well as racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia. Cruz said the Nov. election is personal for her and she will campaign for anyone who requests her assistance no matter where they are in the country.

Speaking to Windy City Times, Cruz said "San Juan is a city that embraces its diversity and that includes the LGBTQ community. We are actually in the process of establishing an elderly home for LGBT couples and are the only municipality that has a transgender clinic in all of Puerto Rico. The first municipal entity that started working the Monday after Hurricane Maria was our HIV clinic because we know that if you do not have your medication it is life threatening.

"People who say they are in favor of diversity and then their actions show the opposite like what President Trump has done against DREAMers, minorities, women and dissolving the HIV committee speak louder than anything he says. People have to stand up and be counted and that means register to vote, get educated and then vote for the candidates that will move this country forward including civil and human rights issues and that cannot be found in the Republican party."

Other speakers included Muslim Bar Association President Azam Nizamuddin, DPDC Program Director Ken Mejia-Beal, DPDC Gala Chair Joanne Tyree who noted this is the year of women in politics, DuPage County Board member Liz Chaplin ( the only Democrat on the board ) and DPDC Chair Bob Peickert who recognized the student March for our Lives leaders in attendance from Glenbard North, Downers Grove North, Hinsdale Central and York High School and Nequa Valley high schools ( they got a standing ovation ).

Also in attendance were U.S. Reps. Bill Foster and Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois attorney general candidate state Sen. Kwame Raoul, Illinois Lt. Gov. candidate state Rep. Juliana Stratton, 4th district congressional candidate JesÃs "Chuy" Garcia, 6th district congressional candidate Sean Casten, 14th district congressional candidate Lauren Underwood, state Sen. Tom Cullerton, state Sen. Don Harmon, state Sen. Linda Holmes, state Sen. Laura Murphy, 24th district state Sen. candidate Suzy Glowiak, 47th district state Rep. candidate Jim Caffrey and 49th district state Rep. candidate Karina Villa among other elected officials and community leaders.

Ahead of the gala a number of candidates spoke to Windy City Times.

"One of the great things about this campaign is everybody who has issues they want to educate me on have actually reached out to me about those issues and I welcome that feedback," said Casten. "I will continue to be an advocate for the broader LGBTQ community and everything they stand for. I encourage people in the LGBTQ community to contact me about issues they care about as my campaign moves forward."

"There is so much to do in the months ahead and I look forward to connecting with your readers in person and hopefully as campaign volunteers," said Underwood. "We have a mission of taking on a Tea Party Republican who will not stand up for the families in his district and that is what we are doing every day on the campaign trail with the focus of winning in Nov."

"We are going to do everything we can to defeat Bruce Rauner because we have seen the damage he has done to our state," said Stratton. "Democrats are united and ready to fight for the progressive values that mean so much to us including working for equality and justice across the board and certainly the LGBTQ community. That is something that JB and I have been huge advocates for and will continue to do that work."

"As a result of the primaries, I am a strengthened candidate going into the general election," said Raoul. "The differences between myself and my GOP opponent are a lot clearer, especially my progressive views on social issues, and the voters will have an easier choice to make in Nov."

Proceeds from the gala and subsequent donations will be split between the non-profit organization, Somebody Help Us, which supports Puerto Rican relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria and DPDC's efforts to elect more Democrats in Nov. at all levels of government.

See www.dupagedemocrats.com/cms2/ and somebodyhelpusalguienayudenos.com/ for more information.


This article shared 1051 times since Wed Apr 18, 2018
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