It’s no fluke that the village of North Riverside has its first Hispanic elected village trustee with the election of Fernando Flores on April 4. The growth of the Hispanic community in North Riverside, from about 8 percent in 2000 to almost a quarter of the village in 2010, is undeniable.
The Hispanic populations in Riverside and Brookfield doubled from 2000 to 2010, though Hispanics still make up a smaller percentage of the overall population in those villages than in North Riverside.
A couple of years ago in North Riverside, a group of residents formed the Hispanic Organization of North Riverside to create a civic organization giving that group of residents a voice they really hadn’t had before.
HONR has held community events, inviting all residents to join them, and get to know them. Organizing gives groups of people political power the may not know they wield. North Riverside’s VIP Party has obviously seen the advantage in connecting with that particular, growing group of voters and enlisted one of HONR’s charter members to join forces.
That has resulted in the Hispanic community having a real advocate on the village board and also solidifies VIP’s base of support. It was a politically smart move that also gives Hispanic residents a stronger say in village government.
With Flores at the head of the village board’s Police and Fire Committee, he can also have an impact on the way those departments, whose personnel deal with minority residents and non-residents, perhaps bringing a different perspective to the table.