Posted on October 3, 2008

Some in Cicero Take Issue With Flying of Mexican Flag in Park

Joseph Ruzich, Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2008

In a town once predominantly Eastern European but now mostly Mexican, there’s a flag flap blowing in the wind.

Cicero residents recently complained that the Mexican flag was flying at the town’s new Cicero Community Park.

Although the U.S. and Illinois flags, as well as a sports flag, are flown there, some longtime residents accused town officials of being un-American and demanded the Mexican flag be taken down.


Cicero resident Helen Brave, 75, said she was shocked to see the Mexican flag flying when she attended the opening of the South Laramie Avenue park, which is touted by town officials as their version of Millennium Park.


Cicero Town President Larry Dominick—who is up for re-election next year and often must juggle the concerns of both longtime residents and newer Hispanic residents—said last week that the Mexican flag was flown during the park’s Labor Day weekend opening in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

He said the flag was taken down shortly after but put up again around Sept. 15 to celebrate El Grito, a holiday honoring Mexico’s independence.


At the Town Hall, foreign flags—including Mexican, Italian, Irish and Greek—are normally rotated, a town official said.

Brave said Cicero should pass an ordinance that would prohibit the flying of foreign flags on public property.


Other suburbs with growing Hispanic populations, like Berwyn and Aurora, do not have flag ordinances.


But Aurora last year passed a controversial ordinance that includes the banning of celebratory flag-waving aimed at curbing what some people have deemed out-of-control impromptu celebrations.

In Cicero, Town Trustee Maria Punzo-Arias told residents the demographics have changed in the town of about 82,000.

“You have to understand that Cicero is more than 80 percent Hispanic now,” Punzo-Arias said. {snip}