Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Bird-Martinez vies for 31st Ward City Council spot
by Matt Simonette

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Openly gay automotive software designer Colin Bird-Martinez is currently running to represent the 31st Ward in the Feb. 26 citywide elections. Bird-Martinez has done a great deal of activism work locally, and he now maintains that work can carry over to City Hall.

The 31st Ward, currently represented by incumbent Ald. Millie Santiago, includes parts of the Avondale, Belmont-Cragin, Hermosa, Logan Square and Portage Park neighborhoods.

Windy City Times: What compelled you to run?

Colin Bird-Martinez: I'm running because I love this community. My partner and I moved here from Logan Square about five years ago. We were honestly worried at first about a whole "traditional values" thing—the area is very Roman Catholic. But that stereotype ended up not being true at all. People were really happy that we moved to the community.

The reason I decided to run is that I've seen a lot of absenteeism from our alderman. Even in recent interviews, she said there's no gentrification in our community, and we know that it's not true. I know the names of people who've been pushed out. There's a lot of instability happening, particularly in my part of the community, Hermosa. We need new leadership that's going to pay particular attention to that, as well as lift up the voices of every one in the community. A lot of the people involved in my campaign are people I knew from community organizing—a lot of women, undocumented people, LGBT people. Those are the primary groups, and those we are trying to bring voices to in the campaign.

WCT: Elaborate on some other issues you are concerned with.

CBM: There are a lot of issues with education. Many of the people I meet send their kids [to school] outside the community. That's often a serious issue for families, so I want to fight for fully funding our schools and having an elected school board. I meet a lot of young people, particularly young men, who are a little lost about what to do after high school, so I want to make City Colleges free. People who are in gangs, or are former gang members, have said, "Had I known there were opportunities like this, I would not have joined a gang."

We've had a lot of different things we've canvassed on. This week's was about education. Last week's was about women's issues. My partner is a social worker, so a lot of the stuff that I care about has to do with social work.

Obviously crime is a number one issue as well. My opponents are focused on bringing even more cops in, and that ends up terrorizing more people, particularly young people and young men. I want to rebuild public trust. I was happy to see the consent decree passed; I was a supporter of that, but in the future I want to see more police accountability through the [Civilian Police Accountability Ordinance]. I also want to promote mental health services for those who are victims of violence.

The most "kitchen sink" issue is constituent services. The alderman is ignoring a lot of issues and that's why a lot of people are wanting change.

WCT: You have a long history of activism; speak a bit about that, and how much of that relates to the LGBT community specifically?

CBM: When I moved here, my neighbors were really passionate about seeing change in the community but didn't know yet about how to bring it about. It lacked formal organization. In 2014, we co-founded the Hermosa Neighborhood Association. Just like the residents who co-founded that with me, I had no formal background in community organizing. But we've done incredible things, such as advocating for affordable housing, stopping to stop the expansion of charter schools that were affecting our community, and, our primary thing, getting people together for beautification. We planted close to 100 trees in the community and distributed rainwater barrels. The thing I'm most proud of is raising a quarter of a million dollars for a new playground.

I have a progressive political organization really involved in the campaign and am part of Reclaim Chicago, which [supports officials such as] Kim Foxx and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, and [works on] fighting gender oppression and racial capitalism. Those values are imbued throughout our campaign. We are focused in getting young people to vote—the average age in this ward is 28. It's about getting people 18-24 to vote, women to vote, and having immigrant populations involved in the campaign, so they can hold me accountable as well, without being able to vote.

Out in the community, I think some people will admit to me that they are gay, and you can infer that they are not open in their home. Other people have told me that it takes a lot of courage [to be out] because it is a traditional-values ward, and they're surprised that I'd run. But I never get anything bad from people [while canvassing] at the doors. They're very excited by it. They're excited that somebody different would run. I work in very cis- white male spaces. Being in those spaces, I see a lot of positive change happening, and that's without my doing anything. So that's why I'm excited to be running in this ward—I think it will make a real impact on that as well.

WCT: Are there other pertinent issues for the ward's LGBT residents?

CBM: One thing is family acceptance programs. There's a strong Catholic population in the community, and a strong evangelical population as well. I want to support, through those family acceptance programs, the mental well-being of gay youth in our area, and their parents and families, to really understand. I think we should require all-gender restrooms in public buildings. I was also going to support bringing a new youth center, because we have nothing like that on the Northwest side, , but I'm happy to say La Casa Norte is building one fairly near to us, which also has permanent housing for gay youth. But we need more of that. I don't know how to do it yet, but I'd also like to support getting a gay bar or club into the area. There used to be one in Hermosa—the only one between here, Boystown and Oak Park, but it closed down. I think that would be a better presence in this area.

See .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

NATIONAL Couples' eviction, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, dancer sentenced 2019-03-20 - A lesbian couple filed a complaint against the transitional housing facility they once called home after they were forced out, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...

Gay News

WORLD Irish PM, landmark Canadian ruling, Brazilian murder suspects 2019-03-20 - The openly gay prime minister of Ireland had breakfast with Mike Pence—and he made some pointed comments about accepting others, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...

Gay News

Supreme Ct. rejects anti-gay B&B's appeal 2019-03-19 - On March 18, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Phyllis Young—who runs the three-room Aloha Bed & Breakfast in ...

Gay News

Anti-gay fliers criticizing Lightfoot distributed near churches 2019-03-18 - Fliers decrying lesbian mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot appeared at a number of churches with predominantly Black congregations the morning of Feb. 17. The ...

Gay News

Homophobic attack targets Lori Lightfoot in Chicago mayoral race 2019-03-17 - Washington, DC — Homophobic fliers targeting openly lesbian Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot were distributed on cars in key neighborhoods of the city ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91 2019-03-14 - Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh ( D-Indiana )—a champion of women's rights and author of two amendments to the U.S. Constitution—died March 14 ...

Gay News

Equality Act introduced in U.S. Congress 2019-03-13 - On March 13, Democrats reintroduced the pro-LGBT measure known as the Equality Act in the U.S. House, The Washington Blade reported. Rep. David ...

Gay News

LGBTQ inclusive curriculum bill passes Illinois House 2019-03-13 - SPRINGFIELD — Students in Illinois public schools would learn about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Illinois and U.S. ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2019. Early voting info; election judges needed 2019-03-13 - Early voting for the April 2 municipal runoff elections will take place March 18 through April 1. The Loop Super Site, 175 ...

Gay News

WORLD Brazilian video, HIV incidents down, Malaysia's problems 2019-03-12 - Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has sparked outrage, disgust and ridicule after tweeting a pornographic video in an apparent attempt to hit back ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.