As the only progressive pan-Asian power-building organization in Illinois, Advancing Justice | Chicago is creating meaningful policy change and building a diverse grassroots base that guides our campaign priorities and strategic vision. We know that change doesn’t happen overnight. But with your support and involvement, our work will continue to empower hundreds of community leaders to lift their voices, and take action to advance racial equity. Learn more about our key issue areas, our impact, and how our vision in action.
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30 YEARS OF ADVANCING JUSTICE | CHICAGO
In 2022, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago celebrated its 30th anniversary. Check out our 30 Years of Advancing Justice | Chicago brief video as we come to end of our milestone year. We are proud to reflect on how far we have come, and grateful for all of the community leaders and stakeholders who have helped in our mission to uplift the voices of the Asian American community of Chicago, the Midwest, and beyond. Thank you for 30 years of support and allowing us to continue our work of advancing justice.
PROGRAMS THAT EMPOWER THE COMMUNITY
A JUST CHI
Pan-Asian Community Organizing
+ 10 core leaders organized
+ 48 working group meetings
+ 2 issue-based working groups: immigrant justice and abolition and building community
+ Advocated for the passage of the TEAACH Act and supported implementation efforts
Youth Leadership & Organizing
+ Engaged with 40 limited English proficiency youth in the community
+ Launched a new year-long fellowship
+ Participated in an immigrant justice rally with 400 youth from 6 schools
I SPEAK POWER
Adults with Limited English Skills
+ Tripled the number of program participants
+ Held 181 in-person and virtual community leadership meetings
+ Reached community members from over 8 different language backgrounds
Vision in Action —The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History Act — TEAACH Act
The road to the passage of the 2021 TEAACH Act in Illinois started with the drafting and introduction of this historic piece of legislation that we led. Our months-long campaign work included :
+ Sending 15,000 text messages to Illinois residents to build public support
+ Mobilizing 1,000 witness slips in support of the bill
+ Activating 800 constituents to email their state legislators urging them to co-sponsor and vote year on the bill
+ Collecting 65 testimonials from students, community members, and educators
+ Convening of an 8 organization steering committee of to lead advocacy efforts
In support of the implementation of the bill Advancing Justice | Chicago has:
+ Convened a team of volunteer educators and Asian American community stakeholders to create the Asian American Education Resource Database
+ Launched professional development (PD) workshops for K-12 educators, leading 36 PDs that reached 693 as of November 2022
+ Reached out to 67 school districts, regional offices of education, teachers unions, and other educational institutions to share our implementation resources and curricula
Above: Smita Garg, one of our TEAACH Act professional development facilitators, shares curricular resources with educators.
Vision in Action — VOTING RIGHTS & EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION
In 2021, Advancing Justice | Chicago helped win the creation of the first-ever Asian American majority ward in Chicago. During the Chicago redistricting process, our team organized dozens of legislative meetings with Chicago alderpersons and testified at multiple public hearings to advocate for an Asian American majority ward and the consolidation of our community in wards across the city. We led a collective effort with six other Asian American organizations to ensure that Asian American priorities were heard and recognized throughout the redistricting process.
This year, Advancing Justice | Chicago resumed its countywide poll watching program for the June 2022 primary election and the November 2022 general election. Our poll watchers monitor polling places throughout Cook County that are legally required to provide language access in the form of bilingual election judges and translated ballots and voting materials.
Our poll watching and voting rights program:
+ Advocated for robust precinct-level implementation of federal and local language access laws, affecting dozens of Asian American communities
+ Trained 38 staff and volunteer poll watchers who were dispatched to 202 Cook County polling places and voting centers
+ Ensured provisional translated materials in over 10 languages including Mandarin, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Arabic, Korean, and Tagalog
+ Up-to-the-minute surveying of polling sites, provision of Board of Elections translation assistance, in-person voting instruction translation, and incident reporting
+ Facilitating of bi-weekly meetings between the Board of Elections and critical partner organizations to elevate community concerns and recommendations around language access
Our Journey is Just Beginning!
For the past 30 years, Advancing Justice | Chicago’s members, supporters, funders, and community partners have made it possible for us to build power with and for the Asian American Community. Thank you for believing in our mission and investing in our work.
Help us continue to increase our impact by investing in the next 30 years of advancing justice!
The Asian American Institute (AAI) is founded as a research and policy organization with the goal of uplifting the profile of Asian American communities in Chicago.
AAI lobbies to nominate Bill Lann Lee as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and to confirm Paul Igasaki as a commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
AAI promotes Asian American and Pacific Islander participation in the 2000 Census, and publishes “A Comprehensive Guide to the Asian American Community of the Greater Chicago Area.”
AAI forms a coalition on redistricting, and sets the ground work to launch poll monitoring programs to ensure language access compliance under the Voting Rights Act during the 2002 election.
AAI and the Association of Asian Construction Enterprises successfully lobbies the City of Chicago to re-include Asian Americans in the affirmative action program for city contracts.
AAI is a founding member of the PanAsian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition, which organizes the first-ever Asian American-focused mayoral forum.
AAI works with Cook County election officials to implement required language access for South Asian voters for the first time ever and runs the largest election poll watching effort in IL.
AAI rebrands as Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago as an affiliate alongside peer organizations in D.C., Southern California (Los Angeles and Orange County), San Francisco, and Atlanta.
Advancing Justice | Chicago organizes a community forum on police brutality, with initial demands evolve into the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance.
Advancing Justice | Chicago leads the championing of the Automatic Voter Registration and the Illinois TRUST Act for the state.
KINETIC youth leaders successfully advocate for change in Chicago Public Schools policy to better support English language-learner students.
Advancing Justice | Chicago launches Bystander Intervention Trainings in partnership with Right To Be in response to rising anti-Asian sentiment and violence.
Advancing Justice | Chicago leads the passage of the TEAACH Act, making IL the first state in the nation to require Asian American history to be taught in all public schools.
Advancing Justice | Chicago celebrates 30 years of impact, and continues to organize and work to implement systemic change.
From Our Leaders
"What's great about Advancing Justice | Chicago is the focus on raising leaders for both today and the future - leaders who believe in racial equity who will fight for it through civic engagement and policy advocacy. The staff and grassroots leaders inspire me every day."
— Karthik Raja, Advancing Justice | Chicago Board Member