Board Spotlight: Mark Anthony Florido

Dearest Community,

Her name was Ana, but we all called her Lola Ima. She was my maternal grandmother –  known for her sinigang and her love of shopping. She loved her grandkids, often sneaking us little spoonfuls of coffee as a treat! It’s been more than a decade since she’s passed, but I’ve been thinking about her a lot recently. As more and more news about Asian community members, particularly our elders, being subjected to anti-Asian violence come to light, I can’t help but see my Lola Ima in them. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have a beloved member of my family be a victim to such hate. But I know, I must do something.

That’s where my role as a Board Member for Advancing Justice | Chicago comes in. I am thankful to be able to support efforts that honor my Lola Ima by engaging in work that uplifts the Asian American community and educates our community on how to protect others like her. For example, our bystander intervention training offerings give us some concrete tools that we can use to protect folks like Lola Ima during instances of anti-Asian bias motivated incidents. I am proud to know that through these trainings we are helping to create a safer world for all our Asian family members.

But the work doesn’t stop there. As one of the Core Leaders for A Just Chi, I am in awe of the community’s endeavors to ensure that immigrants like my Lola have equitable access to resources and that they can live their lives without fear. (more…)

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Welcoming City Ordinance is a win by-and-for our communities

Welcoming City Ordinance is a win by-and-for our communities
But work remains to be done to make Chicago truly welcoming to ALL

STATEMENT from the Chicago Immigration Working Group:

As members of the Chicago Immigration Working Group, we organize in order to honor the humanity of our communities, because too often our city and our institutions have not. Our five year effort to amend the Welcoming City Ordinance was a campaign of humanity – one that recognized that no matter someone’s history, layering deportation on top of an already flawed and racist criminal justice system is a discriminatory and wrong. Everyone deserves to live free from fear of deportation. Enacting these amendments brings Chicago a step closer to living up to its values of being a “welcoming” city, and the amendments begin to address one of the many conflicts that exist between police and communities throughout our city by limiting the role of police in our city.

Throughout this campaign we heard directly from undocumented Chicagoans directly affected by the loopholes in the ordinance. We held rallies at City Hall, hosted neighborhood teach-ins, circulated petitions, won the support of city council members, got mayoral candidates on the record, and built a strong, cross-city movement. Today, our organizing has led to a victory that ensures the Chicago Police Department will not honor ANY Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers or warrants, cooperate with ANY immigration enforcement operations, or directly share ANY information with ICE. This is a huge win for our communities, full stop. We recognize all of the elected officials that responded to the demands of the community.

But Chicago still cannot claim to be a truly welcoming city for all. While these amendments go a long way towards cutting off ties from federal immigration enforcement, we do not live single-issue lives. A lack of a real system of police accountability continues to be a serious challenge in our city while resources, priority, and attention continue to be given to structures that exclude, criminalize, and imprison Black, brown, and immigrant communities at the expense of health care, housing, education, and other resources that specifically address root causes. These amendments illustrate that police accountability is possible and necessary, and we have an opportunity to build upon this important victory. To fully achieve our vision of equity, and to be a true welcoming city, Chicago must start to divest from criminalization, begin to invest in our communities, and ensure true police accountability.

We have shown that we can organize and win, and we will continue to do so until the city truly lives up to its “welcoming” name.

Members of the Chicago Immigration Working Group: Access Living, AFIRE Chicago, Arab American Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Beyond Legal Aid, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Enlace Chicago, Grassroots Collaborative, HANA Center, The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Latino Union of Chicago, National Immigrant Justice Center, Organized Communities Against Deportations

Brandon Lee, ICIRR
773-259-5288 (call or text)

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JOB POSTING: Community Organizer

Community Organizer Job Description



For over 25 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. 


The I Speak Power (ISP) Community Organizer will be primarily responsible for building a powerful base of adult English language learners in the South Asian community. The Organizer will incorporate civic education and organizing training into regular workshops for adults with moderate to advanced English comprehension in order to build deep individual relationships and cultivate grassroots leaders.

The Organizer will facilitate regular workshops at 1-3 Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition member organizations, but will partner more collaboratively with one PAVE organization to invest in deeper leadership development and co-design base-building strategies. We see the current moment, in the wake of the 2020 Census, as a strategic moment to invest in I Speak Power and continue the momentum built from census outreach and November 2020 civic engagement efforts.
Key Responsibilities:

  • Build power by cultivating one-on-one relationships with limited English proficient (LEP) community members and investing in their individual leadership development;
  • Identify issues that motivate and impact LEP community members, organize them to take action on these issues, and align issue-based campaigns with the strategy of the partner organization and Advancing Justice;
  • Support and co-develop issue-based campaigns that center the experiences and leadership of directly impacted LEP community members, including, but not limited to, language justice;
  • Collaborate with the staff at relevant PAVE host organizations to craft and execute base-building strategies;
  • Develop ISP programmatic components and facilitate a series of workshops at 1-3 PAVE organizations throughout the year;
  • Manage all administrative duties for ISP, including managing memoranda of understanding for relevant sub-grants, tracking participation, reporting on deliverables, etc.;
  • Assist development staff in program-related fundraising;
  • Collaborate with other staff on organization-wide initiatives.
  •   (more…)

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    JOB POSTING: Democracy & Redistricting Project Manager

    Job Posting: Democracy & Redistricting Project Manager  



    Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is searching for a Democracy & Redistricting Project Manager to join our team in February/March 2021. This is a temporary full-time position that would run through the 2021 calendar year, with the possibility of being converted into a permanent position contingent on the organization securing additional funding. We are looking for an individual who is eager to work collaboratively with other highly passionate and committed individuals, whether our staff, coalition partners, or grassroots community leaders. All candidates must be committed to our mission of building power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity.

    Reports to:
    Executive Director


    The Democracy & Redistricting Project Manager position is an opportunity for a strategic and motivated relationship-builder to work with Advancing Justice-Chicago staff and grassroots leaders in Illinois and throughout the Midwest on a range of democracy and voting rights issues, with a special focus on redistricting. This position will also represent Advancing Justice-Chicago in the Just Democracy Illinois coalition and possibly collaborate with other staff from the Advancing Justice national affiliation’s Voting Rights working group. If capacity allows, this position would also have the opportunity to support other existing advocacy campaigns as deemed appropriate by their supervisor.
    Key Responsibilities:

    • Advocate on behalf of Advancing Justice-Chicago in its redistricting advocacy efforts for Illinois and the City of Chicago.
    • Provide support to Advancing Justice-Chicago’s community organizers and Policy Director on all issues related to redistricting, including providing technical support to community partners in the Midwest region.
    • Create educational materials and presentations related to the redistricting process in various Midwest states and redistricting-related advocacy.
    • Represent Advancing Justice-Chicago in the Just Democracy Illinois coalition.
    • Participate in collaboration efforts by our Advancing Justice affiliation’s Voting Rights Working Group.
    • Conduct policy research and analysis on issues related to democracy reform and voting rights.
    • Contingent on capacity, provide additional support to other on-going Advancing Justice-Chicago issue advocacy campaigns.
    • Participate in internal meetings as deemed necessary.
    • Assist in grant processes involving the subject areas of democracy and voting rights.
    • Maintain a high-level of organization and accountability to expectations and deadlines.
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    U.S. Citizenship Act Makes Strides for Pathway to Citizenship, Family Immigration

    U.S. Citizenship Act Makes Strides for Pathway to Citizenship, Family Immigration

    Asian Americans Advancing Justice welcomes immigration bill as a start to a more inclusive immigration system

    NATIONWIDE – Congresswoman Linda Sanchez introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act, President Biden’s immigration proposal that would offer 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a path to citizenship with a faster path for DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status holders. Senator Menendez plans to introduce the same legislation on Monday in the Senate. Among other provisions, the bill also includes Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Reuniting Families Act and her No Ban Act, two pieces of priority legislation for Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

    Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, issues the following statement:

    “Tireless advocacy from organizers and communities across the country has led to the inclusion of key measures that will start the process of truly transforming our deeply flawed immigration system. Asian Americans Advancing Justice commends the President and Congressional leaders in their fulfillment of a campaign promise to offer a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, DACA recipients, and TPS holders that includes 15,000 people from Nepal. Yet several key aspects of the bill fall significantly short of the long-term promise to undo harms levied against immigrants and transform our immigration system.

    We celebrate the inclusion of Congresswoman Chu’s Reuniting Families Act and the No Ban Act in today’s legislation. The No Ban Act would restrict the executive power to enact future discriminatory bans such as the Muslim and African Bans and prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration laws. The Reuniting Families Act would start to clear the family-based and employment-based backlogs, providing relief to separated families and Indian families stuck in temporary nonimmigrant visa status. The bill also includes LGBTQ equality provisions in our immigration laws, repeals the harsh three and 10-year and permanent bars to inadmissibility and other relief for immigrant communities. It would also expand the diversity visa program, a main pathway for immigrants from Africa.

    While these provisions would positively impact many Asian American and Arab Middle Eastern Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) community members, the bill includes harmful provisions as well. Specifically, the bill includes new additional criminal grounds of inadmissibility which will further punish vulnerable members of our communities. Immigrants with criminal convictions have already suffered cruelty and racial targeting in our justice system; they should not be doubly punished. The provisions originally in the Reuniting Families Act provided vital protections through waivers, but those presented in this bill fall short and exclude some community members. This comes at a time when large numbers of Southeast Asian refugees continue to be ripped from their communities and deported, often to countries they have never known and mass prosecutions of Asian American and immigrant scholars for espionage-related and large numbers of Asian American and immigrant researchers and scholars are being profiled, targeted and prosecuted for espionage and related crimes when they are not spies.

    Asian Americans Advancing Justice will continue to strive to build support in Congress and among the public for truly transformative change in our immigration system including for those with criminal convictions.” (more…)

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