Champion of Arab American rights Ray Lopez announces for Mayor
Ald. Raymond Lopez who fought to defend the rights of Arab American store owners and who has led the fight against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s continued failures to reduce crime announced his candidacy for Mayor of Chicago on Wednesday April 6, 2022. Lopez is the only Hispanic weho has announced for mayor on February 28, 2023
By Ray Hanania
Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez who fought to defend the rights of Arab Americans in the Fall of 2021 announced his candidacy for Chicago Mayor, challenging the failed policies of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and stresses his focus on making Chicago safe during a press conference on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
Lopez, who has served as alderman of the Southwest Side 15th Ward for the past seven years, joined a coalition of Arab Americans to denounce Lightfoot for targeting and closing more than 150 Arab American stores. The stores were closed for more than 3 months in a failed and misguided campaign to crackdown on unrelated street gang violcnce.
Alderman Lopez is one of several Chicago Alderman who have fought to defend all minority rights including Arab Americans, including Alderman Gilbert Villegas, who is running for Congress in the new 3rd District, and Ald. Silvana Tabares who helped prevent the closing of 22 Arab American owned Hookah Lounges in early 2021. Villegas has called for a public probe into Mayor Lightfoot’s discriminatory attack against Arab American owned store.
“Today I am announcing my candidacy for Mayor of the greatest city inn the world, out city of Chicago,” Lopez said surrounded by hundreds of supporters,” Lopez said to more than 150 supporters gathered at his campaign office.
“As a candidate I am fully transparent. As mayor my core principles will be simple. Focus on safety. Rebuilding our economy. And supporting our first responders and city employees that serve the taxpayers of the city of Chicago. It really is just that simple.”
Lopez told the gathering he will make “defending the public his priority.”
“My number one goal is safety. We must prioritize safety in our city or else nothing will happen. … Safety is already the keystone of work in the city. But I will amplify this message to every business, every organization, every church and block club in every community, every neighborhood and every street. We will be safe in the city of Chicago again,” Lopez said.
“The Chicago Police Department need our support and I will give it to them like they have never seen before. To the men and women of the police department, let me say this, I salute yu. And thank you for your service.”
Lopez argued that safety will strengthen the city’s faltering economy and support businesses.
The 15th Ward includes the Chicago communities of the Back of the Yards, Gage Park, Brighton Park and West Englewood, but Lopez has been an active voice in support for fighting the rising crime, car jackings and the need to make Chicago safer to strengthen the business community throughout the city.
Hassan Nijem, president of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, praised Lopez for his powerful voice in defending Arab American store owners. Lopez joined Nijem and more than a dozen of the Arab store owners at a press conference denouncing Lightfoot’s racist order to close Arab stores.
The day after the press conference, Lightfoot ordered all of the stores re-opened, but refused to meet with the protestors. Instead, lightfoot coddled some Arab American leaders who stood by her but closed their eyes to her discriminatory practices against Arab Americans.
“If it wasn’t for Alderman Lopez and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce speaking out against this discriminatory practice, all of those 150 Arab owned stores would still be closed,” Nijem said, noting very few other Arab American organization in the Chicagoland region would defend the store owners.
“A few in our community stoodby Lightfoot for their own personal gain and benefit and turned their backs on their responsibilities to the Arab American community. We did not. And Ald. Lopez was instrumental in forcing the city to relent and re-open those stores.”
The Arab American Democratic Club, headed by Samir Kahlil, also defended the rights of the Arab store owners and joined in demanding that the stores be reopened. But the rest of the Arab American organizations remained silent and a few worked with Lightfoot to try to minimize the criticism against her administration.
For more information on how Ald. Lopez fought to reopen the Arab American owned stores visit the American Arab Chamber of Commerce website by clicking his link: www.aaccusa.org
You can watch Ald. Ray Lopez’s announcement on Youtube by clicking this link, or by using the widget below.
For more information on the mayoral candidate of Ray Lopez, follow him on Twitter at @RLopez15thWard
Visit Candidate Raymond Lopez’s campaign website at www.raymondlopezchicago.com
I was born on the Southwest side of Chicago, where I was raised by a single mother and grandparents who taught me the value of hard work and honesty and encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in.
I attended St. Camillus School and graduated from St. Laurence High School. Shortly after attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, I was hired by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.
Soon after 9/11 devastated the United States, I signed on as a skycap for Southwest Airlines at Midway Airport. Here, I learned the true value of customer service and the importance it plays in society. I have incorporated and utilized this knowledge during all interactions in my public service as an Alderman.
Like many elected officials, my decision to run for office was spurred by the awareness that something needed to be improved. In 2006, after purchasing my first home in Chicago Lawn, a simple bulk garbage pick-up request to my local Alderman turned into a call-to-serve for me. The way in which I was so easily disregarded fueled my determination to change how the local government treats its taxpayers.
I persisted after my first run for Alderman was unsuccessful, and in 2015, I won the majority in a run-off election to win a seat on the City Council. I was proudly elected the first openly gay Latino to any office in the State of Illinois. In 2019, I was re-elected to continue honorably representing the historic neighborhoods of West Englewood, Gage Park, Brighton Park, and Back of the Yards.
Chicago is at a crossroads. After years of growth and investment, particularly in neighborhoods that I represent, I am finding that the current administration is unwilling to protect and support our future. We must fight back to ensure we protect our families, livelihoods, and future. I intend to do just that.