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Kari Steele’s spouse under fire again

Thursday, May 26, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. An open letter to MWRD Commissioner Kari Steele, who is running for Cook County assessor against incumbent Fritz Kaegi

Commissioner Steele,

We witnessed the recent public discussion of anti-semitism on your spouse’s talk show. While we were heartened to see that apologies were issued, we feel compelled to raise similar and related concerns about Mr. Jackson’s history of making offensive comments about the Latino community on his show, and fomenting harmful anti-Latino and anti-immigrant sentiments.

As you know, there is a long and painful history of tension cultivated between African American and Latino communities in Chicago. Following in the legacy of the Harold Washington era, we have worked hard to build solidarity between our communities, which face so many common challenges. That is why Mr. Jackson’s consistent sowing of animosity against the Latino community is so deeply troubling.

Furthermore, our immigrant community and particularly the undocumented population came under attack in recent years under Donald Trump and ICE. Now more than ever, we need leaders of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to stand together to defend undocumented immigrants against the threat of violent attacks and oppression.

Our struggles are inherently bound together. But instead, amid this crisis, Mr. Jackson has offered his show as a platform from which to lob attacks on the vulnerable Latino immigrant population. And all along, disappointingly, you have remained silent.

For example, just recently, on 4/27/2022, Mr. Jackson made several troubling comments in response to a recent report from the Great Cities Institute. “The person leading, who has the data ain’t us,” Mr. Jackson says [42:00], a reference to Teresa Cordova of the Great Cities Institute, who is Latina. He goes on to say he is “coming to the realization that [Latinos] are going to take our stuff.”

“They [Latinos] are hijacking our birthright by using the people of color analogy,” said Mr. Jackson. Later [1:07], Mr. Jackson says he “went to the Black gym at the Blackest church in Chicago, and it’s all Latino. They playing basketball right on Jackson.”

In the same episode, which took place during your campaign for Assessor, President Steele, Mr. Jackson discusses your campaign, and your logo is visible throughout the show on screen.

In another episode, this time from summer 2021, Mr. Jackson stated: “We gotta get these people in control, they’re destroying our city: Latinos! I think Latinos have taken the premise of ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ and when I say ‘beat them,’ you can’t beat the white boys so [you] join them in beating and villainizing the Black people.”

Those are just two recent examples of many such troubling comments Mr. Jackson has made without apparent response from you. Now, after years of silence, you are asking for our votes, and in some cases, our campaign contributions.

As you run for office countywide in a county with a significant Latino voting age population, we hope you will consider addressing this problematic history with the same urgency that you did when the Jewish community sounded their alarm.

Now more than ever, our communities should be uniting across the racial and ethnic lines that traditionally divided us. We hope you agree.


    Former Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza (10)
    Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22)
    Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25)
    Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33)
    Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35)
    Ald. Andre Vasquez (40)
    State Sen. Celina Villanueva
    State Rep. Delia Ramirez
    State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez
    Commissioner Alma Anaya
    The Latino Leadership Council
    Equality Illinois Deputy Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco

* Here’s a smallish sampling of the rest, but you can click here for the whole thing

Date: 5/11/2021
Link: Timestamp: 01:48:59
“So again my question becomes, who are we putting in these positions like who’s gonna be the new head of the streets, and saying ‘will we allow it to be somebody Latino?’”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:40:00
“I am going to remain in the position that the Black and Brown coalition is a mythical creation that white folks use.”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:40:19
“I don’t believe that there is a true Black and Brown coalition and I don’t necessarily believe that there should be.”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:42:38
“When is the last time you heard somebody Brown say ‘what about the Black people?’”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:42:15
“I was offended—I am offended—that once again we are marrying our issues to the Brown community.”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:43:50
“I think that Rep. Welch is ignoring the history of the ‘Black-Brown relationship’ in Chicago and Cook County, particularly because when the Latinos got into power their plan was not to coalesce with us, it was to make us bend the knee.”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:44:58
“I’m also tell you that until we until we reconcile the the latest offenses of the Latino community, the latest assaults of the Latino community, against Black folks, ain’t no Black Brown coalition [going to exist].”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:46:24
“What I want you all to do is to put your third eye out and recognize that all this Black-Brown coalition is usually talked about by people who represent mixed districts and are more concerned about the Latinos than the Black folks.”

Date: 5/8/2019
Link: Timestamp: 01:47:45
“Can you point to me in Illinois when the Latino caucus or the Latino community has stood up for Black people? The only person I can tell you who has done that I could think of is Senator Martin Sandoval. Besides him, I can’t think of any Latino elected official that went out upfront and said ‘as a Latino I am concerned about the interests of what happened to my brothers.’ Not even your boy Chuy Garcia, who talks about Harold Washington all the time! Not even Luis Gutierrez [in an mocking accent].”

Date: 4/16/2019
Link: Timestamp: 00:53:15
“I’m saying that Black people are being diluted to the point where they’re gonna be like, it’s just gonna be this murky pool, and we’re going to have nothing”

Again, as we’ve already discussed, Maze Jackson has advocated for and acted as a surrogate for his spouse’s campaigns. That makes this relevant.


  1. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:22 pm:

    Wow. It’s not like he isn’t clear about his racism. How could she not be aware of her husband’s views, and then have him involved in her campaign? Either way, this makes her look really bad.

  2. - levivotedforjudy - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:26 pm:

    I don’t think they would have let the Archie Bunker character from All in the Family say these things. These are shockingly racist statements. But, apparently she can overlook it and must be prepared to not have the support of people who don’t overlook it.

  3. - ElTacoBandito - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:26 pm:

    I mean she had to know this was coming right? I don’t think it’s a stretch to think there will be the same letter from the LGBTQ caucus next.

    She will condemn his statements, he will give an apology, and when she loses, he’ll say the apologies were forced on him by “The Establishment”

  4. - Shytown - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:34 pm:

    When is this guy finally gonna get shut down? How many times can he get away with this stuff? And commissioner Steele is her own woman, but at some point she has to address this.

  5. - int - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:42 pm:

    The FCC won’t allow cussing on air, but hate speech is ok?

  6. - Roadrager - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:51 pm:

    ==When is this guy finally gonna get shut down? How many times can he get away with this stuff?==

    He got the boot from his paying radio gig, and is now plying his trade on a station where he has to buy the airtime, as well as YouTube. Where the money’s coming for that, I don’t know. Perhaps people should ask.

  7. - Amalia - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 2:54 pm:

    “…bend the knee…” wow, this guy.

  8. - James - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 3:07 pm:

    Buying radio time to attack Latinos for playing basketball in a public space? Ms. Steele, he’s sickening.

    You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, if you think you’re gonna shape this man up.

  9. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 3:18 pm:

    =And commissioner Steele is her own woman…=

    Who chose to marry this chud. And look, it’s not like anyone had to do PhD-level research to find this stuff. It’s his brand. It’s how he’s cashed his checks.

    You could take a random sample of everything Maze has done for the last decade and pull offensive bits out of all of it. Said it before but the decision to marry him shows an incredible lack of judgment and is disqualifying.

  10. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 3:46 pm:

    Maze Jackson operates in a vacuum of his own nonsense. He’s not smart enough to realize that he is the gum on Kari Steele’s shoe.

  11. - Suzanne - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 3:47 pm:

    Unless she condemns it, she is part of it.

  12. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 3:52 pm:

    “I’m saying that Black people are being diluted to the point where they’re gonna be like, it’s just gonna be this murky pool, and we’re going to have nothing”

    Sure sounds like Maze Jackson has a racist Great Replacement Theory of his own.

    – MrJM

  13. - Bobby McGowan - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 4:41 pm:

    I agree that there’s no room in society for discrimination. Those who engage in discrimination should not be running for public office and if they do, we should vote against them. But can we please get to the point of this race? We need an Assessor, who: 1) truly understands the assessment process and all its moving parts; 2) works with the other independently elected officials to get the PROPRERY TAX BILLS OUT ON TIME; and 3) will stop blaming others and lead the charge to bring about true reform to Cook County’s property tax system. No matter which candidate you support, Cook County needs to be a vibrant economic engine for its people and for our state.

  14. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 7:13 pm:

    If she’s her own women and choose to marry this guy, who’s she gonna choose to be the COS and do business with as Assessor?

    Stop playing the sexism card.

  15. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 7:21 pm:

    She knew who Maze was when she decided to marry him. The only surprise is - did she really think she wouldn’t be harmed politically by it all? There’s no secret here.

  16. - dnw - Thursday, May 26, 22 @ 7:52 pm:

    Ironic that he praises Martin Sandoval and bashes Chuy Garcia - the way Troy Laviere told it (endorsing Chuy 7 years ago), Sandoval tried to keep Black areas out of the attendance boundaries when Little Village High School was built, Chuy fought to include Black students (and won).

  17. - Chi-Town Lady - Tuesday, May 31, 22 @ 3:32 pm:

    Maze has a long, sordid history of espousing xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric on whatever platform will have him. I am glad WVON finally removed him from their roster, as his vitriol is not only unfounded, but deeply divisive and rooted in a pathologic scarcity mentality that does far more harm than good. I also hesitate to believe any apologies as genuine, as anyone who has engaged with him in social media is met with a double-down on his “theories” and opinions. It is also disappointing that Kari’s responses don’t seem to take accountability for her silence all these years and, ultimately, having him serve as a surrogate on her campaign. Maze’s “canon” of work is a sad, Kevin-Samuels-meets-MAGA hodge-podge of nonsensical proportions that, unfortunately, too many people buy into. Perhaps this barrage of open letters will produce some time for reflection, but I honestly won’t hold my breath…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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