Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) kickflips into City Council


Photo Courtest of Juan Geracaris

Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) skateboarding with his children. He is a founder of Evanston Skates.

Olivia Alexander, Assistant City Editor

You might catch Evanston’s newest City Council member skateboarding at the park.  

City Council confirmed Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) as Evanston’s 9th Ward councilmember on Monday. An Evanston resident since 1993, he has dedicated himself to serving the city’s Latine community and advocating for skateparks. 

Eric Pitt, one of Geracaris’ friends for almost 20 years, said the two first met at a skatepark. After Pitt landed a position at the Kellogg School of Management, they would often skate together after work.

Geracaris said he’s a life-long skateboarder, and he’s committed to bringing skateparks to Evanston. He helped bring an informal skate park to Ridgeville Park District in 2021 after seeing high school students bring homemade ramps to an unused basketball court. Geracaris helped them build and repair ramps and eventually started Evanston Skates, a grassroots organization that advocates for skate parks in the city. 

Pitt said Geracaris’ interest sets him apart from other local politicians. 

“47-year-old skateboarders are getting rarer and rarer, so that’s exciting that he does that,” Pitt said. “That’s definitely something that no other councilmember before or probably after will be doing.” 

Geracaris is also a founding board member of Evanston Latinos, a nonprofit organization which works to support the city’s Latine residents by translating COVID-19 information into Spanish and delivering meals.

The group connects people with resources that are already in the community, Geracaris said. 

“There’s a lot of gatekeeping with how aid and things are given out,” Geracaris said. “Being that intermediary and helping people find what’s available to them, I think was really important and helped a lot of families.”

Though he has been deeply involved in the community, Geracaris said he didn’t plan to enter local politics. But when the council seat became vacant, he said friends and family encouraged him to be involved and to be a representative for local Latine residents.

Kate Veraldi, who has also been friends with Geracaris for more than 20 years, said the councilmember remains humble despite his accomplishments. Veraldi said she didn’t know much about Geracaris’ community service before he decided to run for council. 

“Sometimes even his close friends, like us, just fail to notice how much he’s doing or he’s accomplished,” Veraldi said. “He does a lot. He knows a lot. He’s really smart. He’s really funny, but he’s just really quiet and humble.”

Veraldi said Geracaris is “annoyingly knowledgeable,” but is quiet about those things he knows a lot about. Pitt said he’s not a political shark, and he’ll lead with humility on the council. 

During his tenure, Geracaris has said he’ll prioritize communication with 9th Ward residents. He started a Twitter account and will live-tweet City Council meetings to increase transparency. He said Spanish-speaking residents can call or email him, and that he’ll respond in Spanish. 

“It would be daunting for someone who’s a non-native English speaker to jump in and try to figure out what’s going on at City Council,” Geracaris said. “I’m planning on releasing notes on City Council meetings after they happen.”


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