Some Riverside residents got a surprise when they looked at their mail saw themselves in a photo that appeared in a mailer sent out by the campaign of Abdelnasser Rashid, who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) in the June 28 primary in the new 21st District.
The photo in the mailer was taken in 2018 at the Riverside Public Library when Rashid, then running for the county board, was addressing members of the Indivisible West Suburban Action League, a local progressive group.
The photo had also been on the campaign website of Rashid when he ran for the Cook County Board of Review in 2020, a race that he lost to Tammy Wendt in the Democratic primary in what was considered an upset.
Some of the people in the photo were not happy that they appeared in the Rashid campaign mailer, perhaps not liking the implication that they support Rashid over fellow Riverside resident Zalewski.
“I didn’t give permission for this nor would I have agreed to appear on his postcard,” said Riverside resident Cristin Evans, who is also an elected trustee of the village. “I wish him and Mike well in their campaign.”
Another person in the photo said that she, too, was shocked to see herself in the mailer.
“I was surprised, very surprised,” said Amy Jacksic. “I just feel that it just kind of misrepresents what was going on. It’s a different office he’s running for now, and he had come to speak to Indivisible about the position he was running for at that time.”
Rashid said that one person in the photo contacted him and asked him not to use the photo again, a request he said he’s agreed to, although he says he did nothing wrong in using the photo, even without getting permission of the people in the photo.
“Campaigns use photos showing the candidate in many different settings, talking to an individual, the candidate with his or her family and talking to a group,” Rashid said. “That photo simply showed me talking to a group of people — in particular that was a group of women, primarily — and we thought it was a nice photo to use.”
Rashid said the mailer that included the photo was sent out throughout the district, not just in Riverside.
Some progressive activists, including some in the photo, were angry last year when Zalewski voted against repealing a law that required minors to notify a parent before getting an abortion.
But many Riverside progressives seem to be reluctant to publicly take sides in the race. The affable Zalewski is generally popular in Riverside and tries to maintain good relations with local progressives.
Rashid claims that at least some of the people in the photo are supporting him in his race against Zalewski.
“Some people in the photo are certainly supporting me in the campaign,” Rashid said. “Out of respect for the person who requested that I take down the photo, I won’t be disclosing the names, but I’m proud to have support of women throughout the district and women in Riverside.”