Byron Sigcho Lopez

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Byron Sigcho Lopez

Template:TOCnestleft Byron Sigcho Lopez is an immigrant, who made Pilsen his home. Byron was working as an adult education teacher and volunteer youth soccer coach at his neighborhood public school, Pilsen Academy, when he became involved with Pilsen Alliance in the campaign to save 130 Chicago public schools slated for closure by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Byron remained involved with the Pilsen Alliance and in 2015, began serving as the Executive Director.

Byron serves as the President of the Hispanic Literacy Council, as a board member of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, is the Community Representative on the Local School Council at Whittier Elementary in Pilsen, is an active member of Local 73, and a member of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

Byron earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Mathematics from Cumberland University in Tennessee, and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently completing his PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.[1]

DSAers for Robin

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Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America members Claire Van Den Berghe, Bol Benjamin, Paul Kirk-Davidoff supporting Robin Wonsley Worlobah for Minneapolis City Council.

May Day 2021

Chicago, IL - The movements for immigrant rights, against police crimes, and the labor movement of essential workers united today to mark May 1, International Workers Day in Chicago. Banners read “Legalization for all,” “Stop police crimes” and “Justice for essential workers.”

The mobilization represented the unity reached between the major immigrant rights group the state, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR). ICIRR’s two legislative priorities are legalization for all and a pathway to citizenship at the federal level, and community empowerment to hold the Chicago police accountable.

Speaking for CAARPR, co-chair Jazmine Salas said, “The Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance will put us on a path to community control of the police – no more murders like those of Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez.” Both were killed by CPD in late March. Adam Toledo was 13 years old and had his hands in the air when he was shot; Anthony Alvarez was shot in the back while running away from the police.

Essential workers and their unions, particularly SEIU Locals 73 and Health Care Illinois/Indiana also joined the rally. HCII Vice President Jaquie Algee explained about the 1886 nationwide strike for the eight-hour day, organized mainly from Chicago, in honor of which May 1, is celebrated around the world as International Workers Day. She said, “It’s a disgrace that over 100 years later we’re still fighting for the same things: respect on the job and decent wages.”

The rally at Union Park was capped by remarks by Congressman Chuy Garcia, who pledged to support the PRO Act legislation in support of labor organizing; legalization for all, including removal of exclusionary bars; and a pathway to citizenship to be included in the budget reconciliation. “It’s high time to stop criminalizing immigration and desperation, and to end an immigration system entangled with the flawed criminal justice system. It’s no accident that the same communities that are over-policed due to racist policing and racial bias are suffering at the hands of immigration enforcement.”

Garcia then spoke about his legislation, the New Way Forward, which would end the mass criminalization and deportation pipeline.

After rallying in Union Park on Chicago’s West Side, they marched two-and-half miles to Federal Plaza in the Loop. A cultural program featuring youth performers was interspersed with speeches by Rev. Emma Lozano, her daughter Tanya Lozano, Frank Chapman of CAARPR, Oswaldo Gomez of ONE Northside and the Grassroots Alliance for Public Safety, and alderpersons Byron Sigcho Lopez and Carlos Ramirez Rosa, all of whom came together to help create the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance.[2]

DSAers for Economic Justice

Members of the Democratic Socialists of America for Economic Justice Public Facebook group as of March 13 2021 included Byron Sigcho Lopez.

International Workers Day marked in Chicago

May 2, 2018, Chicago. IL - The meeting room at the United Electrical workers building in Chicago rang with song, as 60 working people of all nationalities and backgrounds - Black, Chicano, Mexicano, Honduran, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Asian, and white - gathered together to celebrate International Workers Day. Sponsored by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the crowd was made up of fighters from the many battle lines in the class struggle and the national liberation movements.

No gathering to celebrate the class struggle here would be complete without the red shirted Chicago Teachers Union. Maria Moreno, Financial Secretary of CTU Local 1 spoke about their history of struggle, and the wave of teachers strikes across the country.

Also at the gathering were a number of workers, including warehouse workers from Amazon and UPS, as well as UPS drivers. Daniel Ginsberg, a rank-and-file leader in Teamsters Local 705, and also a member of FRSO, explained that class struggle unionism is needed to defeat the bosses’ war against workers. Another UPS truck driver, Benjamin James Cline, led the room in singing Solidarity Forever.

Byron Sigcho Lopez of the Pilsen Alliance, a community organization in the Chicano and Mexicano immigrant community near downtown Chicago, agitated the crowd to fight racist attacks on Blacks and Latinos; to demand rent control for low-income workers; and to stand up to the police and support the elected, civilian police accountability council put forward by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “We must combat racism with socialism!”

Chicago Alliance and FRSO member, Yahama Tunson, performed a poem inspired by FRSO’s newspaper, Fight Back!. And finally, Honduran revolutionary singer, Karla Lara, helped lead the singing of the International, the hymn of the working class sung all over the world and in every language on this day. The room sang along in English, Spanish and Filipino.[3]

Chicago DSA Closed Facebook group

This is the official Facebook group for Chicago DSA and its branches (South Side, Northside, and Oak Park)

Members of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America closed Facebook group, as of October 15, 2017 included Byron Sigcho Lopez .[4]

Solidarity Midwest Day School

The Solidarity Midwest Day School was held at People’s Church in Chicago on Saturday 28 July 2018. The event brought together about 50 people from Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee.

Ryne Poelker opened the meeting by observing that People’s Church had been targeted by developers and their political allies several years ago, but saved by a successful social justice campaign. T

Our Midwest Socialist Day School panel on taking power at the ballot box, with aldermanic candidates Ugochukwu Okere (40th Ward), Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th), Maria Hadden (49th), Bob Quellos representing Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) and Angela Clay (46th).

The final session, “Taking Power: Activists and the Ballot Box”, featured a panel of community activists who are running for office on the Chicago City Council: Angela Clay, candidate for 46th ward alderman and community activist; Maria Hadden, candidate for 49th ward alderman and community activist; Ugochukwu Okere, candidate for 40th ward alderman and DSA member; and Byron Sigcho Lopez, candidate for 25th ward alderman and DSA member. Also on the panel was Bob Quellos (DSA, 33rd ward Working Families), representing the aldermanic campaign of Rossana Rodriguez.[5]

DSA members running for Council

Rossana Rodriguez won more votes in the February election than Mell, a former Illinois state representative, and is now one of four members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) vying for a city council seat in the 2 April runoff, along with Andre Vasquez, Byron Sigcho Lopez and Jeanette Taylor.

Two other Democratic Socialists of America members, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Daniel La Spata, have already won seats outright.[6]

City Council successes

If their success on Tuesday carries over to the April 2019 runoff election, as many as five members of the Democratic Socialists of America could be on the Chicago City Council.

Two won aldermanic seats outright. Three others made the runoffs.

“The oligarchs are shaking in their boots tonight,” Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) told supporters. “Our continued organizing and movement-building over the last four years is paying dividends. And it appears to be a total transformation of political power at City Hall from the bottom up.”

Rosa is one of the two members of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America who got the majority vote needed to win without a runoff. The other, Daniel La Spata, upset Ald. Joe Moreno in the Near Northwest Side’s 1st Ward.

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Socialist Rosanna Rodriguez-Sanchez will be in April’s runoff against incumbent Ald. Deb Mell (33rd). Rodríguez-Sánchez broke into tears at her election-night party at Chief O’Neils in Avondale after hearing she’d gotten the most votes in a three-way race.

Byron Sigcho Lopez, who heads the Pilsen Alliance, credited the socialist organization — which says it’s not a party but instead a “political and activist organization” — with helping him in the race for the seat vacated by retiring Ald. Danny Solis (25th). Sigcho-Lopez will face Alex Acevedo in the runoff.

“DSA members were instrumental, and I’m thankful to the volunteers who spent hundreds — thousands — of hours campaigning,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We’ve had a rubber-stamp City Council beholden to corporate interests, and that’s why the DSA candidates resonated with people.”[7]

DSA endorsed

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Victories

Three aldermanic candidates endorsed and supported by Chicago Democratic Socialists of America won seats on city council April 2 2019 in the Chicago municipal runoff elections. In the 20th Ward, Jeanette Taylor won with 59.64% of the vote and will be taking the seat formerly held by indicted Willie Cochran. Similarly in the 25th ward, Byron Sigcho Lopez, who won with 54.31% of the vote, will be succeeding Danny Solis, formerly the powerful chair of the Zoning committee. In the 40th ward, Andre Vasquez defeated the nine-term incumbent Pat O’Connor with 53.93% of the vote.

A fourth CDSA endorsed candidate, Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, is in a tight race with Deb Mell in the 33rd Ward. After bringing Mell to the first runoff in the ward since the 1930s, Rodriguez-Sanchez was up by 64 votes with all precincts reporting. The winner of that race will be determined after absentee ballots are accounted for and a recount is completed.

The new aldermen will join Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a democratic socialist incumbent in the 35th Ward, and newcomer 1st Ward alderman Daniel La Spata, another CDSA member. Both Ramirez-Rosa and La Spata won their races outright during the first round of voting on February 26. That means that, in a 50 seat city council, at least 10% will be members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

“As democratic socialists, we’re ready to build a Chicago for all of us, not just a wealthy few,” said Lucie Macías, one of two Chicago DSA co-chairs. “Our Chicago for All platform is based on three main planks: Housing for all, Sanctuary for all and Education for all. We’re excited to build a socialist caucus in city hall to carry out this agenda and fight for Chicago’s working class.”

Over the last six months, CDSA endorsed the four aforementioned candidates and supported them with canvasses and other volunteer work. CDSA’s Chicago For All platform represented issues the chapter organized around before the elections, like lifting the ban on rent control in Illinois, stopping the construction of a new $95 million cop academy, and creating a democratically elected school board for Chicago.[8]

References

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