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Pan Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition (PAVE)


In 2010, Advancing Justice | Chicago worked closely with a group of 20 local Asian American serving community based organizations (CBOs) on a project to increase community participation in the decennial Census.  With the highest response rates for any minority group recorded in Census history, largely due to the language access and cultural competency expertise of our CBO partners, our model of Asian American community advocacy and organizing was formalized into the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition.

As a coalition of social service organizations with limited policy and advocacy capacity, but enormous outreach and mobilization potential, especially in smaller, marginalized, limited-English speaking communities, Advancing Justice | Chicago’s role is as a convener, trainer, and leader on a shared policy agenda that includes national issues such as immigration reform, but also statewide issues such as language access and public health (Hepatitis B).

Our model of fusing policy advocacy and research with community engagement and leadership training continues to yield impacts and benefits for our community. To learn more about our funding models check out this report.

Learn more about how PAVE worked collectively to turn out the Asian American vote in Illinois during the 2012 General Elections.

The PAVE Coalition includes the following organizations:  Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment [AFIRE] , Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Cambodian Association of Illinois [CAI], Chinese American Service League [CASL], Chinese Mutual Aid Association [CMAA], Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community [CBCAC], Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services, Indo‐American Center [IAC], Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago [JASC], Korean American Community Services [KACS], Korean American Resource and Cultural Center [KRCC], Lao American Community Service [LACS], Lao American Organization of Elgin [LAO-E], and Muslim Women Resource Center [MWRC].

PAVE Lesiglative Agenda 2016

    • HB 1288 simply includes domestic workers under the same protections provided other workers under 4 existing state laws: (1) the Minimum Wage Law, (2) Illinois Human Rights Act, (3) One Day Rest in Seven Act, and (4) the Wages of Women and Minors Act. Although available data is hard to come by, we know that a large number of Asian Americans work as domestic workers in IL. The workforce is also predominantly composed of women working in isolation, which creates a particularly vulnerable working environment. Many of HB 1288’s basic protections would help raise the conditions and compensation for those workers who aren’t currently being treated fairly by their employers. By becoming law in IL, HB 1288 will reduce the instances of abusive employment arrangements for many of our community members.


    • Comprehensive Language Access Bill: Language barriers and the lack of culturally relevant services have historically and fundamentally prevented immigrant and refugee communities from accessing essential services, the polls, employment, and education despite being a federally protected right. The PAVE coalition with other partner organizations will work to draft a state bill that creates the most comprehensive and culturally relevant language access bill in the nation.
    • Il VRB: HB1452, sponsored by Rep. Walsh (D-Joliet) and Sen. Harmon (D-Oak Park), would expand by state law language access to LEP voters who speak certain “foreign languages” based on criteria that is more inclusive than the federal Voting Rights Act’s current criteria. HB1452 currently defines “foreign language” as Chinese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and any combination of Gujarati, Hindi, and Urdu. HB1452 also currently only requires translated ballots and assistance for precincts that fall within census tracts with more than 10% LEP population for a “foreign language.”
    • Amendment to Language Access Ordinance: The initial draft amendment would expand Chicago’s Language Access Ordinance to also include emergency services (CPD, Fire, and 9-1-1) and CPS. This means these agencies would need to form language access plans and assess the language needs of the communities served. The amendment would also create a complaint and enforcement process to increase City agencies’ accountability to the community.


    • SB2134, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar (D) makes it easier to register to vote in Illinois.  In current practice, people must affirmatively take action to register (“opt-in”), typically by completing a separate paper voter registration form, even though the government agency already has almost all the same info on file. Automatic voter registration changes this process from opt-in to opt-out. That is, when an eligible voter interacts with the DMV or another state agency required to register voters (under the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993), the agency will use the info they have to register that individual to vote or update their voter registration unless the individual affirmatively takes action to opt out. This system will make registering to vote for many much easier and in the long run will make voter registration more efficient and accurate. Automatic registration recently became law in Oregon and just this last week California Governor Brown just signed automatic registration into law. One specific area that is addressed by all of these laws is how automatic registration avoids registering non-citizens by accident due to human error and limited English proficiency of individuals.
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