CHICAGO—In ongoing efforts to foster unity among Black and Latino communities in the city, Healthy Hood Chicago organized and recently hosted a successful event in the Pilsen neighborhood. The gathering, which included an outdoor concert and food, was also to honor the memory and legacy of political activist Rudy Lozano.
Tanya Lozano, an activist and niece of Rudy Lozano, co-organized the June 8 “Black + Brown Unity Concert and Cookout.” Her uncle played a pivotal role in securing rights and resources for migrants and American-born Latinos. Rudy Lozano was a longtime labor and community activist.
He became a part of the group Centro de Acción Social Autónoma, Hermanedad General de Trabajadores (Center for Autonomous Social Action, General Brotherhood of Workers, or CASA). CASA worked to unionize noncitizen workers and provided them with welfare services and education to better know their rights as employees. Rudy Lozano also became the Midwest director of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union.
Harold Washington, Chicago’s first Black mayor, was the catalyst in Rudy Lozano’s work in encouraging the Latino community to register to vote. He worked diligently for “Black and Brown unity” and worked to encourage Latinos to vote for Mr. Washington.
His work and life would be abruptly interrupted the night of June 8, 1983, when he was murdered inside his home. The motive for the murder of Rudy Lozano remains unknown, though an alleged gang member was convicted in his death. However, many speculate that he was targeted and assassinated for his political activities.
“Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of my uncle Rudy Lozano. He started the Black and Brown coalition that got Mayor Harold Washington elected. That unification was a threat to the power structure, it was a threat to the machine,” said Tanya Lozano.
“That’s why he was killed, so every year around this time, except for being sad about his life being taken, we use this opportunity to shed light on the potential we have when Black and Brown people come together,” she added.
She announced plans for additional upcoming unity events that will be held at various locations around Chicago leading up to a citywide event that is being planned for the beginning of the next school year.
“We want our Brothers and Sisters to see that we’re not in this struggle alone. we’re not in this fight alone. When we come together, we win,” said Tanya Lozano.
Many people throughout the community surrounding Healthy Hood Chicago attended the unity event. While enjoying live music, food, and fellowship, the crowd was gifted with brief words of wisdom and upliftment from Nation of Islam Student Minister Abel Muhammad. He serves as representative to the Spanish-speaking community for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
“Today, I am still Rudy Lozano,” he told the crowd. “We are taught in the Holy Qur’an that we do not speak of those who die in the way of God as dead. They live, you just don’t perceive it properly. A life like Rudy Lozano, you can’t bury that. You can bury the body, but we’re Rudy Lozano right now. We’re only here because of Rudy Lozano. So you cut down one man but look at all the life that came forth because of one man willing to give his life,” stated Student Minister Muhammad.
“That’s the example we have in the supreme revolutionary of Jesus the Messiah. We have all been deceived in what we have been looking for, and the trouble is we can’t have real unity today because we don’t know who we are. And because we don’t know who we are, we don’t know who our brother is, who our sister is.”
Activist Anthony Martinez of the Chicago Brown Beret National Organization described the gathering as a beautiful event. “Not enough people know who Rudy Lozano is and that was done on purpose. We have to work together, build each other up, and stop thinking we can do things on our own. We have a common enemy.”
To learn more about Healthy Hood Chicago, visit www.healthyhoodchi.com.
(Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].)