Carlos Rosa

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Carlos Rosa


Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is a lifelong Chicagoan who has worked as a community organizer, congressional caseworker, and now Thirty-Fifth Ward Alderman.

Anthony Joel Quezada "heads up constituent services".

anti-raid brigade

An article in July 2019 at the Chicago Sun Times names Carlos Rosa as an organizer of an effort to thwart federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from removing criminal illegal aliens in Chicago:[1]

"In Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood Sunday morning, dozens of volunteers seeking to disrupt federal deportation raids fanned out across the Northwest Side neighborhood.
"Armed with cell phone cameras and teamed in pairs, the volunteers set out on foot and on bike to look for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids or signs of an impending raid, such as unmarked law enforcement vehicles staging outside a home.
"Finding a raid or the telltale signs of one was to trigger a mass text message steering volunteers to the site to possibly block the street so ICE vehicles would not be able to leave, or if volunteers arrive early enough, block ICE agents from entering the home of an undocumented immigrant, organizers said.
"The main thing we want to achieve is extreme delay,” said Anthony Joel Quezada, who heads up constituent services for Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).
“If we delay them an hour or two, that’s an hour or two we’ve given for the next person who’s being targeted,” he said.
The anti-raid brigade was organized by Ramirez-Rosa and fellow newly-elected Democratic Socialist Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd).

Background

As a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Carlos Rosa worked to keep families safe from deportation and win President Obama’s historic executive action to fix immigration.

As a congressional caseworker in the office of U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Carlos Rosa helped seniors, veterans, and families cut through government red tape and he streamlined the delivery of constituent services.

Serving as Thirty-Fifth Ward Alderman since May 2015, Rosa has led legislative efforts to win property tax relief for working class homeowners, paid sick leave for Chicago workers, equality for transgender people in public facilities, and accountability and transparency on municipal financial transactions.

Carlos is a proud product of our public schools. He received his high school diploma from Chicago's Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[2]

Socialism 2019

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Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union; Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Chicago alderperson for the 35th Ward; Alyxandra Goodwin, co-chair of the Chicago chapter of the Black Youth Project 100; Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, Chicago alderperson for the 33rd Ward; Jeanette Taylor, Chicago alderperson for the 20th Ward; and Kevin Coval, poet and activist, at the Socialism 2019 Conference in Chicago in July.

Council race

In 2015, twenty-six-year-old immigrants’ rights organizer Carlos Rosa defeated the incumbent, Rey Colon, by a whopping two-to-one margin.

Rosa, who will be Chicago’s first openly gay Latino alderman, had a few advantages: Colon was notoriously corrupt, and there were no other challengers in the race. His ward also overlapped significantly with the state legislative district that elected progressive Will Guzzardi a few years ago.

Rosa was involved in that campaign and was able to develop Guzzardi’s campaign organization into his own. He also received endorsements from both the CTU and SEIU, the latter of which spent $230,000 on his race, dwarfing the $13,000 that Colon got from Chicago Forward.[3]

Populism 2015

Plenary: "Advancing a Populist Agenda that Puts People and Planet First".

This plenary will unveil the Populism2015 Agenda that outlines what we need to win in the next 10 years to put people and planet before profit and polluters. A bold agenda means we invest deeply in building our power at the scale of the crises we face, shifting the landscape of public debate toward our story of what’s broken and how to fix it, and taking on new campaigns to build the world we want instead of tinkering around the edges of the old economy and a broken democracy.

Speakers

Running for Congress

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Chicago Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Carlos Rosa in his 2018 bid for Congress.

Closet socialist

It was in high school, after reading Noam Chomsky's seminal critique of Western capitalism Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, that Ramirez-Rosa began identifying as a socialist. Even as he came out as gay at age 16 while in the midst of his very first political campaign, for junior class president, Ramirez-Rosa felt compelled to remain closeted about his Marxist politics.

In a culturally tolerant city such as Chicago, where even Republicans have been known to march in the Pride Parade, plenty of rainbow flags fly in public—but none that are socialist red. It made sense, then, that when Ramirez-Rosa launched his insurgent campaign against incumbent 35th Ward alderman Rey Colon in September 2014, he didn't shy away from his sexual or racial identity ("openly gay 26-year-old Latino" was reflexively affixed to his name in the local media), but still opted to stay mum about the S-word.

"People that helped run campaigns told me, 'Look, we have these same values. We also identify as socialist or leftist, but we don't think you should run as one because you'll lose," Ramirez-Rosa says.

Then came Bernie.

"Bernie Sanders opened up that door for me," Ramirez-Rosa says. "I said, if someone could run for president of the United States and say 'I'm a democratic socialist,' then, hell, I can come out of the closet. I've come out of the closet before."

He joined Chicago Democratic Socialists of America in March 2017.[4]

Rent control action

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Raise the Floor Alliance

From 2013 through 2016, the Chicago City Council enacted three new employment laws. In 2013, the Wage Theft Ordinance was passed. The Minimum Wage Ordinance was passed in 2015 and in 2016, the Council enacted the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

Who is minding the store on this legislation? In Chicago, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) is supposed to protect workers’ rights. The Department’s web site states: “The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection licenses, regulates and empowers Chicago businesses to grow and succeed as well as, receives and processes consumer complaints.”

Faith – Labor – Action is the motto of ARISE Chicago. The group’s mission is to end workplace abuse. ARISE Chicago announced their campaign to have the City of Chicago create a Chicago Office of Labor Standards (COoLS) at a press conference at Roosevelt University on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017. It appears that ARISE is calling for the COoLS to be under the Dept. of BACP and take responsibility for enforcing Chicago’s employment laws.

In her opening remarks, Reverend C.J. Hawking (Executive Director of ARISE Chicago) welcomed us as a “congregation of believers.”

Janice Fine, PhD, Professor of Labor Studies at Rutgers University took to the podium and said that municipalities, large and small, have established Offices of Labor Standards with enforcement capabilities.

Four members of the Chicago City Council took part in the press conference. Council member Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) said he is in fear of the current federal administration.

Council member George Cardenas (12th Ward) was introduced as Chair of the Latino caucus. He said he is product of his

Council member Carlos Rosa (35th Ward) was introduced as a member of the Latino and the Progressive caucuses. He added “and a proud member of the Gay and Lesbian caucus.” He spoke of being approached by ARISE Chicago to help a worker facing wage theft in his ward. “We need stronger citywide enforcement, connected to community groups on the ground . . . Chicago won’t have the first Office of Labor Standards, but working with experts, groups on the ground and workers, we can have the best Office of Labor Standards.”

The final speaker was Sophia Zaman, the Executive Director of Raise the Floor Alliance, a collaborative effort to amplify the voice of workers. Raise the Floor Alliance was launched in December, 2015. The founding members are ARISE Chicago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community & Worker Rights, Chicago Workers Collaborative, Latino Union of Chicago, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Workers Center for Racial Justice. Ms. Zaman indicated Raise The Floor Alliance would be in a strong position to bridge the gap between workers and the Chicago Office of Labor Standards.[5]

People's Summit

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Debs Dinner

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Carlos Rosa was the keynote speaker at the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America Debs-Thomas-Harrington Dinner on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Hotel.[6]

DSA on a roll

In April 2017, Quad Cities Democratic Socialists of America member Dylan Parker was elected to the Rock Island City Council, 5th Ward Alderman, with Democratic Socialists of America support.

Parker is now the thirteenth DSA member holding elected office in the country. With his victory, Parker joins a list that includes Carlos Rosa, Chicago’s 35th Ward Alderman, Mike Sylvester, of the Maine House of Representatives, and Julie Ann Nitsch, Austin Community College Board of Trustee in Texas.

“DSA is very excited about our own member Dylan Parker being elected Alderman of Rock Island, Illinois” DSA National Director Maria Svart Said. “You can now find DSA chapters in nearly every state in the union, and our public electoral activity and success can only grow from here.” In addition, DSA hopes that Khalid Kamau, a member running for city council in South Fulton, GA, will win the next DSA electoral victory on Tuesday, April 18th.[7]

DSA intern

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In 2017, DSA member Alec Hudson Internship through University of Illinois at Chicago to help the 35th Ward (Carlos Rosa)with its participatory budgeting vote.

Peoples Summit

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On the final day of the People’s Summit in Chicago June 11. 2017 the panel Electoral Politics: Beyond Neo-Liberalism and Trumpism brought together progressive elected officials and candidates to discuss how people can “seize power in this country,” as the moderator, The Nation editor, John Nichols, put it.

Long Island elementary school teacher, New York State United Teachers member, and state assembly member-elect Christine Pellegrino was on the panel as well as Carlos Ramirez Rosa, a 25-year-old activist with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Rosa serves on Chicago’s City Council.

The panel also included California congressional candidate Dotty Nygard, a nurse who brought National Nurses United into her hospital; the anti-war California Rep. Ro Khanna; and the former president of the NAACP, Benjamin Jealous, who is running for governor of Maryland.

A Bernie Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Pellegrino won Long Island’s 9th Assembly District, which, as Nichols reminded the audience, had “voted by 23 points for Donald Trump and that had never in modern times elected a Democrat.”

On the Saturday afternoon panel Beyond Betsy: Organizing for Education Justice, Pellegrino said seeing her two daughters overworked by the corporate testing model was “really the impetus for why I ran,” promising to advocate for kids, teachers, and labor “in a way that has never really happened before.” Issues of privatization, retaliation against teachers who speak out, a looming teacher shortage in New York, and a drive toward automating the teaching profession, all driven by “billionaires that have their hand in our education funding,” are also problems Pellegrino seeks to combat.

Carlos Ramirez Rosa “was just a 24-year-old community organizer,” a queer Latinx and “the son of working-class immigrants,” when he was encouraged to run by fellow activists. Reclaim Chicago, a group of working people volunteering for his campaign, were instrumental in his election.

“I am fighting to make Chicago a truly sanctuary city, that no one is being deported by our police,” Ramirez Rosa said. “I’m only going to accomplish that because of the power that undocumented Chicagoans are building.” Comparing the people to water –“We’re life,” he said – who struggle to break through the dam of capitalism that holds their power back, Ramirez Rosa said, “My job is to enter that system through the cracks, not to prop up the dam, but to report back to the drops of water.”

Once in office, Ramirez Rosa started United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, 109 people that keep the pressure on to end racist policing, to save our planet, to fight against austerity, to tax the rich, and to fight for affordable housing. “Going against mayor 1% (Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel) is scary,” he said “but I sleep good at night because I know that I got people behind me … and they’re organized to make sure that I never forget that.”

Nurse’s advocacy “does not stop at the bedside,” said National Nurses United rank-and-filer Dotty Nygard. “We advocate for so much more.” Nygard is an emergency room nurse at Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif. She noted that nurses see how “social issues, environmental issues, economic issues” all impact patients. “Their health, their well being is influenced by all of these components that do bombard them,” said Nygard.

Nichols introduced Ro Khanna as the Democrat who said “if you’re not for single-payer you’re not a Democrat.” He also pointed out Ro Khanna was the first anti-Iraq War Democrat to defeat a pro-Iraq War incumbent.

“My grandfather had spent four years in jail during Gandhi’s independence movement in the 1940’s and I thought we needed a more just foreign policy,” said Ro Khanna, explaining his motivations to run for office. Ro Khanna has opposed not just the war in Iraq, but U.S. interventions in Libya, Syria, Yemen, “and to our policy of regime change in Ukraine.” He believes we need “a progressive foreign policy vision, not just because it’s the right thing for our country, but it’s the right thing for people around the world.”

Ro Khanna’s district is Pakistani-American, Indian-American, Chinese-American, Latino-American, and African-American, as well as white. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “That’s the future of America.”[8]

Dumping

In September 2017, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s association with Democratic Socialists of America contributed to his expulsion from a gubernatorial ticket in Illinois. State Senator Daniel Biss, who is running for governor, had announced Rosa as his choice for lieutenant governor the week before. But when it was revealed that the DSA had endorsed a pro-Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods, and that Rosa supported the decision, Biss quickly dumped Rosa amid criticism and the DSA lost its highest-profile candidate to date.[9]

Gay Space Communism Caucus

Members of the Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism Caucus, DSA, members, as of October 15, 2017 included Carlos Rosa;[10]

"Wholesome Meme Stash"

Members of the Democratic Socialists of America Wholesome Meme Stash closed Facebook group, accessed November 14, 2017 included Carlos Rosa.[11]

Venezuelan connection

Representatives of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! (FRSO) met, August 8 2018, with Maria Rincon, Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Frank Chapman, FRSO Central Committee member, and Joe Iosbaker, a leading member in the Chicago FRSO district, reiterated the statement issued by the organization in the hours following the attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Comrades Chapman and Iosbaker also offered any assistance that the movement in the U.S. can provide to support the Bolivarian revolution, and to end U.S. Intervention in their internal affairs.

Rincon expressed her support for the struggle of people in this country for justice, especially for the rights of immigrants, and for Black people's struggle against police crimes. Chapman, who is also the Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, updated her about the struggle for community control of the police in Chicago, a campaign which is at a critical point because of the crisis in Chicago since the exposure of the cover up of the murder of Laquan McDonald. Iosbaker, a steering committee member of the Alliance, related that it was at an event at the consulate in 2016 that Alderman Carlos Rosa first offered to sponsor the legislation for an elected civilian, police accountability council (CPAC).[12]

2019 Council endorsement

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City Council re-election

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.

Socialist field director

In 2019 Lillian Osborne was the outgoing Chicago DSA Campaigns Coordinator and served as the Field Director for Carlos Ramirez-Rosa’s city council re-election campaign.[13]

Endorsed Delia Ramirez

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In 2018 Carlos Rosa endorsed Delia Ramirez for Illinois state rep.

References