House Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) sat down with The Century Foundation’s Danny Weiss to talk about his background as a neighborhood activist, how to pursue diversity and equity in housing policy, and the importance of building affordable and sustainable communities.
Read a full transcript of the conversation with Representative García below.
Representative Jesús “Chuy” García: I’ve been known most of my adult life as a neighborhood activist, I’ve been known as someone who fights for equity and equality at the same time, someone who is inclusive and embracing of other people while fighting for social justice for people of color.
Danny Weiss, The Century Foundation: What is the greatest challenge in your community?
García: The challenge in my community is creating affordable housing for families, with enough bedrooms to accommodate everyone, where people can live in healthy, thriving, and safe communities. This is the greatest challenge that Chicago is experiencing right now, and it’s not unique to Chicago, and it’s not unique just to cities as well. Many suburban communities are experiencing the same thing. So critical to moving forward, is a realization that the need for affordable housing in urban and rural communities is a real need for everyone, and that if we find the political courage to invest in it, then we can become a better country.
Weiss: What’s your vision for the neighborhoods of tomorrow?
García: It is time to develop diverse and embracing communities in Chicago, and in cities across America. We can only do that by being smart, by building sustainable housing, and making it truly family-oriented housing that embraces people with disabilities, people of different income levels. That is true diversity, and we leave the vestiges of racial segregation in the 20th century.
Weiss: Why is it important to have diverse and inclusive communities?
“Being diverse and being inclusive and having everyone at the table is essential if we’re to move forward and live in an equitable and sustainable society, without a doubt—and we better hurry up.’”
García: Being diverse, being inclusive, and having everyone at the table is essential if we’re to move forward and live in a more equitable and sustainable society. Without a doubt—and we better hurry up.
Weiss: What’s your headline of the future, Congressman García?
García: My headline of the future is: Cities Making Comeback Through Diverse Neighborhoods that Include Everyone