News

06.28.2022

Poll Watching Results from June 28 Primary Elections

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

224-289-5486, khsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

415-234-0748, KLeung@advancingjustice-chicago.org

For Immediate Release 

CHICAGO, IL — June 28, 2022 – Illinois voters went to the polls today to pick their party’s nominees for federal, state, and local offices for the Nov. 8 general election. Advancing Justice | Chicago’s team of staff and volunteer poll watchers, in total, visited 119 Chicago precincts and 58 Suburban Cook County precincts between 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  

The goal of our poll monitoring program is to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots without interference, with a particular focus on historically-disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants. Our poll watchers monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements.   

Thanks to our poll watchers we were able to ensure timely resolution for certain issues. For example, at a precinct in Uptown, where Hindi election materials are required, our poll watcher reported no translated signage outside the polling place in the morning. The Chicago Board of Elections responded by placing the appropriate signage by the afternoon. In another instance, our poll watcher stationed at a precinct in Des Plaines discovered that the location did not have any paper ballots in Korean, even though Korean election materials are required under local ordinance. As a result of the poll watcher’s report, the Cook County Clerk’s Office was directed to have those ballots delivered. 

Other more complicated issues, however, do not lend themselves to expedient solutions. In both Chicago and Suburban Cook County, our poll watchers observed serious staffing shortages. Overall, this election cycle saw a common theme of too few bilingual election judges for Section 203 and Cook County VOTE Ordinance-required languages. While most polling places should ideally have five poll workers, many poll watchers today saw only three or four, with one person or no one proficient in the designated Section 203 language. For future election cycles, more recruitment is needed to address staffing shortages.  

In one notable report, one of Advancing Justice | Chicago’s volunteer poll watcher provided interpretation for a voter because the polling place did not have a Cantonese-speaking election judge present. The voter was almost turned away due to confusion during the registration process, in addition to connectivity issues with the Chicago Board of Election’s language hotline. Poll watchers promote transparency and language equity at polling places – sometimes with only their presence alone.  

In the coming months, Advancing Justice | Chicago will publish a report that provides a summary of the issues our poll watchers encountered on Election Day, as well as recommendations for the Chicago and Cook County election authorities. Poll watchers play a vital role in ensuring fair elections. Thank you to our staff and volunteer poll watchers, and our sponsors, the Asian American Bar Association, Chinese American Bar Association, Filipino American Lawyers Association, Korean American Bar Association, and South Asian American Bar Association of Chicago.

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.

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06.27.2022

Advancing Justice | Chicago: Poll Watching for June 28 Primary Elections

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

224-289-5486, khsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

415-234-0748, KLeung@advancingjustice-chicago.org

CHICAGO, IL — June 27, 2022 – The Illinois Primary Election is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28. The ballot includes races for governor, congressional seats, state legislative offices, and a variety of local positions. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago continues its long-running poll watching program. Our poll watchers will be stationed at various polling places across Cook County to monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements. The goal of our poll monitoring program is to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots without interference, with a particular focus on historically-disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants. 

Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the city and state. Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans in Illinois speak a language other than English at home, and of those, more than 38% speak English less than “very well.” Lack of language access is a serious barrier to voting for Asian American communities. On the importance of language access in this month’s elections: “If we’re talking about access to power, the most fundamental right here is the right to vote,” said Kimberly Leung, the voting rights legal fellow at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago.   

Recognizing that citizens with limited English proficiency have been effectively excluded from participating in the electoral process, Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (“Section 203”) requires certain jurisdictions—including Cook County–to provide translated election materials and in-language assistance.  

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago’s poll watching program focuses on precincts in Chicago and Suburban Cook County that are covered by Section 203, and therefore are required to have election materials in Chinese, Hindi, or Spanish. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners have also identified certain precincts where there will be election materials in Korean and Tagalog. Our poll watching program also focuses on those precincts.  

Our poll watching program is also monitoring for compliance with the Cook County Voting Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance. The VOTE Ordinance, which was passed in October 2019, extends Section 203 protections in suburban Cook County to eight additional languages: Korean, Tagalog, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Gujarati and Urdu.  

This Primary, our staff and volunteers will, in total, cover 114 Chicago precincts and 58 precincts in Suburban Cook County.  

When: Tuesday, June 28, 2022  

Where: Chicago and Suburban Cook County  

What: Advancing Justice | Chicago staff and volunteer poll watchers will be stationed at polling places across Chicago and Suburban Cook County to monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements.  In total, our staff and volunteers will cover 114 polling places in Chicago and 58 polling places in Suburban Cook County.  During visits, poll watchers will check for language and disability access and ensure voter harassment and disenfranchisement do not occur.  

Additional info:  

If you have any questions about voting, you can call the Election Protection Hotline. Call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) for assistance in Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese. Call 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) for assistance in Spanish. For assistance in English, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.

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06.22.2022

JOB POSTING: Development Associate

Development Associate Job Description

BACKGROUND AND MISSION

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

For nearly 30 years, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago has worked to bring together the Asian American community and create change in our communities. We are deeply committed to grassroots community organizing and we invest in the leadership of grassroots community members through trainings, community education, civic engagement, and collaborative issue-based campaigns. In order to strengthen our work and transform the inequities in our city, state, and Midwest region, we work with multiracial coalitions that emphasize racial equity, accountability to those most impacted, and an infrastructure of grassroots leadership. Our advocacy work focuses on promoting racial, economic, and immigrant justice, including initiatives in the areas of voting rights, language access, and immigrant rights.

As part of the national Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation, Advancing Justice | Chicago is a leader in the nationwide Asian American movement. Regionally, Advancing Justice | Chicago is prioritizing the Midwest, and collaborating with partners across the Midwestern states to tackle common struggles and build power.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

Working closely with the Development Manager and development team, the Development Associate will play a key role in donor database management, support external affairs, donor prospecting, cultivation and stewardship, reporting on key metrics, and other projects as needed.

At this critical time in our nation’s history, when the rights of immigrants and other communities have been questioned by our government and white nationalism seeks to destroy communities of color, Advancing Justice | Chicago continues to be a leader in protecting the rights of Asian American and immigrant communities in our city, state, and region. This is also a critical time for our organization, and we are now positioned, both financially and strategically, to grow and build on our past victories.

The Development Associate position is responsible for assisting and supporting fundraising operations for Advancing Justice | Chicago. This person will manage, track, and support the organization and development goals. This position presents a unique opportunity for a flexible, dynamic, detail-oriented, and organized individual to advance this organization’s fundraising commitment to building power through coalition building, base building, and grassroots leadership development.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Reports to: Development Manager

  • Ensure ethical and appropriate financial administration of all contributed income, including
    overseeing the donor and prospect records, processing gifts in an accurate and efficient manner, and donor stewardship;
  • Support annual giving, board giving, major gifts, foundation, corporate, and donor cultivation
  • Implement and manage the use of donor database, maintain a suite of reports and queries to
    provide timely and accurate data to help the development team achieve donor engagement,
    solicitation, and budget goals;
  • Manage donor acknowledgment process, including processing outgoing mail (electronic and
    paper), conducting and assigning thank you calls and texts, and updating the donor database upon completion;
  • Plan, lead, and execute annual end of year campaign;
  • Manage third party fundraisers;
  • Manage logistics and follow up for corporate sponsorships and speaking engagements, including processing honorariums, invoicing, scheduling, following up via email, and meeting with potential partners;
  • Research foundation, corporate, and major donor prospects (using foundation websites or
    donor research databases as necessary);
  • Support site visits with research and preparing materials for meetings;
  • Other duties, such as general administrative support and other responsibilities as assigned.

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06.02.2022

A Landmark 30th Anniversary Celebration

For Immediate Release

June 2, 2022 

Contact:
Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago 
224-289-5486khsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org

CHICAGO, IL — June 2, 2022 — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago celebrated 30 years of building a powerful Asian American voice for racial equity on May 5, 2022 at Morgan’s On Fulton. The fundraiser welcomed business, civic, philanthropic, elected officials, and community leaders from the Chicagoland area. The evening kicked off at The Aviary for a VIP happy hour and was followed by the program at Morgan’s On Fulton that celebrated the wins from 30 years of the organization’s existence and honored the leaders that laid the foundation before us. Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we raised nearly $184,000! 

The entirety of the program was supported by Pan-Asian local talent and entertainment, who kept spirits high throughout. Beginning with an electric performance by MOD Project, a Desi-Fusion dance crew, the program continued with opening statements from our Executive Director, Grace Pai. Awards were presented to our honorees – Community Award to A Just Chi core leader Miwa Shimokogawa, Champion Awards to Representative Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Villivalam for their impact on the TEAACH Act, and the Milestone Award to long time board member Michael Chu for his continued leadership at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and in the Asian American community.  

Guests participated in a paddle raise and silent auction with diverse items donated from local businesses, restaurants, sports, arts and culture. The evening continued on the dance floor with sounds set by Dr. Srimix, and Dholi Dhruv of HollyBolly Unlimited, a percussionist specializing in the dhol and tabla. Thanks to our Champion Sponsors McDermott Will & Emery and Tyson for their critical support, in addition to our Partner, Support Sponsors, and anonymous matching gift donor. Please visit here for our full list of sponsors. 

As we are continuing to celebrate the work over the past 30 years and invest in our future of expanding our grassroots leadership development, language justice, and help build the capacity of Asian American power organizations in other Midwest states, we can help other states pass legislation like the TEAACH Act or expand language access at the ballot box. To support our mission and work, donate today by visiting https://www.advancingjustice-chicago.org/donate30. Please check out photos on our Facebook: Event Photography and Photobooth

 

 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Staff (L-R); Kevin Hsia, Justin Sia, Bryan Hara, Grace Pai, Sangini Brahmbhatt, Chris Aldana, George Chen, Sylvia Tamashiro, Junee Yang, Seong-Ah Cho, Jennifer Brown, Andrea Chu

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Executive Director Grace Pai and former Executive Director Andy Kang give remarks at The Aviary

Dholi Dhruv of HollyBolly Unlimited lead attendees in the last dance!

 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.

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05.23.2022

KINETIC Statement – Lori Lightfoot’s decision to ban teenagers from Millennium Park

For Immediate Release

CHICAGO, IL — May 23, 2022 – We are deeply saddened by the death of Seandell Holliday. He was a student just like us, and he should be alive today. So many young people in this city should be alive today, but are no longer with us due to gun violence. Our hearts go out to the Holliday family, and the Comer College Prep community.

​​As a result of the recent events and the response of our mayor, we, the KINETIC Youth, want to make our voices heard. We strongly disagree with the decision made by Mayor Lightfoot to impose a curfew on youth at Millenium park, and fear the implications that the increase of police activity will have, especially on Black and brown youth. Such a policy does not bring peace to many families. As Black and brown immigrant and refugee youth, we know too well how youth of color are treated by law enforcement in this city, and fail to see how this will keep us safe. 

Restricting youth access to public areas isn’t a solution to the issue at hand. This ban is simply a way around truly addressing the root cause of the problem, and will inevitably target youth of color with increased police surveillance. Youth gathering in public spaces is not what causes gun violence.

Curfews can’t and won’t solve the problem of the lack of access to jobs, education, and money. Disinvestment in our communities is rooted in racist policies that continue to have significant impacts to this day. We need funding to be directed to low-income neighborhoods: into their classrooms, libraries, recreational centers, health centers, and more. 

We need to see legitimate action taken to address gun violence in Chicago. We are proud to live in a sanctuary city, but it doesn’t feel much like a sanctuary when we, as Black and brown immigrant youth, feel unjustly targeted. Our communities deserve to be protected and invested in, from our schools, to our streets, to our public parks.

“I think mayors across the country, particularly in this time, we have a moment where we can really change for the good, the narrative around accountability and legitimacy and policing,” these are the words of Mayor Lightfoot addressing policing concerns after the death of George Floyd. We need these words to match her actions. We need to tax the rich and invest in affordable housing, living wage jobs, and violence prevention programs. Without opportunities to break from cycles of violence, the problem can only be bandaged, not healed. We deserve to be prioritized over the protection of property. Millennium park can be rebuilt, but death cannot be reversed.

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.

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