The newly released proposal stops short of drawing Chicago’s first Asian American majority ward, despite Census data showing it is possible.
CHICAGO, IL — October 25, 2021 — On Friday, the Chicago Latino Caucus released a proposed citywide map that creates 16 majority Black wards, 15 majority Latino wards, and 15 majority white wards, but no majority Asian American ward. Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago call on the Latino Caucus to make history by amending their map to incorporate Chicago’s first Asian American majority ward.
Chicago’s Asian American community grew in population by 31% and Asian Americans are the racial demographic that shows the fastest percentage growth in our city. Chicago’s Chinatown is often referred to in the news as the only Chinatown in the country that is growing, in stark contrast to other cities where gentrification has driven Asian Americans out of their historic neighborhoods. However, there is no Asian American representation on City Council nor has there been a single Asian American majority ward in Chicago’s 200-year history.
“We are disappointed that the map the Latino Caucus filed with the City Clerk does not include an Asian American majority ward. CBCAC has engaged extensively with City Council members to share several alternatives that include over 50-percent Asian Americans in the ward. The Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission’s citywide map also includes a majority Asian American ward, which includes parts of Armour Square, Bridgeport, and McKinley Park,” said Grace Chan McKibben, Executive Director of Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC). “We have shown over and over again that a majority Asian American ward is supported by Census 2020 data.”
“Right now, Asian Americans do not have a seat at the table. Just as other communities of color have representation by their leaders, Asian Americans deserve to be able to elect an Alderperson who represents, understands, and advocates for our growing community’s needs,” said Grace Pai, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “To have a true “Coalition Map,” the Latino Caucus map must reflect Chicago’s diversity and create a majority Asian American ward.”
“When Pui Tak Center started in 1994, Chinese American students attending our ESL classes primarily came from Armour Square and Bridgeport,” said David Wu, Executive Director of Pui Tak Center which is located in Chinatown. “Now, more and more Chinese Americans attend our classes from McKinley Park and Brighton Park, demonstrating how the community has grown across the Southwest side. It’s critical for the new ward map to keep these communities together in a majority Asian American ward.”
Grace Chan McKibben, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC)
Grace Pai, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago