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Indiana Daily Student

Jose Evans, father figure

Young blacks and Latinos in Indianapolis have a new role model in City Councilman Jose Evans.

Indianapolis thought Evans had made history in November 2007 after he became the first Democrat elected to the city council from the 1st District on the city’s far northwest side, considered until then a reliably Republican district.

As it turns out, the election wasn’t so historical. Evans was a closet Republican.

He came out earlier this month, officially switching party affiliation and shrinking the council’s democratic majority of 16-13 to 15-14. He is the only black/Latino Republican serving on the council.

In an open letter to his constituents explaining his switch, Evans draws on IU student turned famous poet William Ross Wallace, quoting his most famous line, “For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

The councilman says he and the poet share two characteristics: “First, an intense love and respect for our mothers, and secondly, neither of us knew our fathers.”

Evans’ mother raised him and his siblings by herself in Haughville, working multiple jobs to get a nursing degree, put food on the table for her children and somehow find the means to send Evans to Cathedral High School and the University of Indianapolis. She emphasized the importance of their Catholic faith.

Evans never met his father, who was described to him as a black Puerto Rican. “I can now admit I hated Father’s Day because I never knew mine,” he says.

Like Evans, young minorities across the country are faced with the challenges of growing up without a father, perhaps a large part of the reason why minority communities consistently vote for the party of big government despite it not sharing their values.

Evans says that these values, “pro-life, pro-family, economic freedom and putting ... faith in Him before any man,” are values of the Republican Party and are shared by the “many, many” minorities that make up “the silent majority” within black and Latino communities that struggle with the discrepancies between their values and those of the Democratic Party.

He may be right about that silent majority. In the last election, nearly 20 percent of black men under age 30 voted for Mitt Romney.

This surprising number invites a question: Is the young black community poised for a migration back to their first political home, the Party of Lincoln?

Perhaps. For this to happen, the GOP will need more people like Jose Evans, brave leaders who reject a party who fought a war to keep blacks enslaved, fought for decades to keep them in Jim Crow and has since the Civil Rights Act of ’64 fought to ensure blacks’ dependence on the government with a slew of programs.

The story of Jose Evans’ fatherless childhood and his journey to the GOP shows Indianapolis’ minority youth that when facing the void left by an absent father, their best option is to take hold of the cradle and rock it themselves.

There’s only so much Daddy Government can do for a man who still sleeps in a crib.

­— arcarlis@indiana.edu

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