FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2015
Phone: 773-271-0899 x201
Asian American community organizations disappointed by Emanuel’s cancellation
Mayor cancels meeting with community members.
CHICAGO – Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and its partners are disappointed that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has cancelled his participation in a meeting to address community members and engage in constructive dialogue about issues facing Asian Americans and immigrants in Chicago. The Mayor’s campaign had promised the meeting after he could not attend last month’s mayoral candidates’ forum hosted by Advancing Justice | Chicago.
“Our coalition represents a wide-breadth of well-respected community organizations that Rahm Emanuel has ignored during this campaign,” said Tuyet Le, Executive Director of Advancing Justice | Chicago. “The mayor has once again missed the opportunity to hear from our community.”
Community members from across Chicago were set to ask Mayor Emanuel similar questions to those that were raised to other candidates. Advancing Justice | Chicago and its partners have been working to educate voters to make informed choices about issues that concern community members.
“When the Mayor says he wants to make Chicago ‘the most immigrant friendly city in the country,’ we want specifics, not grand platitudes,” said Michael Aguhar, board member of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment. “These are real questions posed by real community members that affect their lives every day. The Mayor missed two opportunities to engage immigrant families in a meaningful dialogue about the future of this city and we cannot help but feel disappointed and frustrated in his leadership”
Just last year, a video was made public showing Chicago police threatening to put Jessica Klyzek, a Chinese American woman and U.S. citizen, into a UPS box and deport her, then striking her while she was handcuffed and kneeling on the ground.
“What happened to Jessica in that video, and what happened to Sureshbhai Patel in Alabama just last week has been happening to members of the Black community for generations,” said Anupam Desai, a community volunteer. “Our community wants to know whether the mayor will ensure the reparations ordinance gets a vote. Why is Mayor Emanuel unwilling to attend these events and address Asian American community members?”
Largely from immigrant families, high school students from Advancing Justice’s KINETIC program collectively generated a question to ask about workers’ rights and living wage. “As an immigrant, I totally understand how a family feels getting paid less than we’re supposed to,” said Abby, the KINETIC student who was prepared to ask a question at the meeting. “I was excited to talk to the mayor, not only because I wanted to meet him, but I wanted to speak up for my community. I also wanted to see if he would help us support our community, but once again law doesn’t mean anything without justice.”
“This will not stop us in our civic engagement work, but this further galvanizes the community to make our voices heard as the fastest growing community in Chicago,” said Le.