Biss announces Latinx advocate Geracaris as Ninth Ward alderman through April 2023

Following Cicely Fleming’s resignation as Evanston’s Ninth Ward alderperson, a temporary appointment process headed by Mayor Daniel Biss took place to fill the empty city council seat until the next election. After close consideration of the many applicants, Biss selected Juan Geracaris to be the Ninth Ward’s Alderperson for the time being.

The appointment process was an open one, with Biss taking time to discuss each candidate’s goals for the ward. 

“Nobody could be considered without applying, and among those who applied, I reached out to have a one-on-one conversation with them. … We held a meeting both open to the community and online, so I got a sense of how they interact with people, and it gave the public a chance to hear them out in the open,” Biss explained. 

Community input was also crucial in the mayor’s decision-making process. 

“I took every bit of information available to me into account,” Biss says. “I listened to feedback from people who knew the candidates, watched the forum, had opinions, ultimately in an effort to select a person that I thought would be best for the city and community in the moment,” Biss said.

After careful consideration, Geracaris was selected by Biss to take on the role of Ninth Ward alderperson. Geracaris is the first member of the Latinx community to have a seat on Evanston’s City Council. 

“It’s long overdue for Evanston’s Latinx community to be represented in city council… Representation matters,” Biss explained.  “He’s done a lot of stuff for our community. … Community involvement, involvement with the PTA… So much of the heart of this community is in the school system. He consistently came off as thoughtful, level-headed and collaborative,” Biss commented.

Geracaris has been an Evanston resident for 14 years and has contributed to the community in various capacities. 

“I just want to do my best to be a voice for the Latinx community and be available to them,” Geracaris said. “It’s really true that representation matters. Hopefully, seeing me in this position opens up possibilities for others.”

During his time in Evanston, Geracaris has had a meaningful impact on the Latinx community. He is Vice President of the Oakton Elementary School PTA and began Evanston Latinos, a local organization dedicated to bringing Latinx community members together in an effort to support and spread awareness about equity and inclusion of Latinx families in Evanston. He is currently a senior system administrator working at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. 

“My experience being a founding member of Evanston Latinos has been really important. It began as an informal group of like-minded community members getting together from time-to-time to discuss and share what was going on in the Latinx community in Evanston,” Geracaris said. “It taught me a lot about how to work with others and also how to engage and get feedback from folks. We hosted convivencias as community building events and then we used the feedback we received to guide what our projects would be in the future. Based on the relationships we created, we were able to link people to aid organizations during the pandemic, co-sponsor a city budget town hall completely in Spanish and become a trustworthy source of information for the Latinx community.”

Geracaris will fill the seat on city council until the proper election is held for Ninth Ward alderperson during the next municipal election cycle.