New Report Published On Election Hero Day Documents Findings of City’s Only Language Access Poll Watching Program

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago dispatched poll watchers to monitor language and disability access during February and April municipal elections

– Today, on National Election Hero Day, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is releasing a report that summarizes its nonpartisan poll watching observations from the 2023 Chicago municipal elections, using data collected by poll monitors who were dispatched to monitor language and disability access at the polls.

Federal laws set a baseline for localities to provide language assistance at polls, and local governments can provide additional protections.

“A city as vibrant and diverse as Chicago needs to have language access protections, beyond the federal requirements, to ensure that our democracy is inclusive and representative,” said Kimberly Leung, Voting Rights Legal Fellow at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago.

The report, which was shared with the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE), found that at most locations visited, 98 percent, translated ballots were available in the required languages. At the same time, the report notes that additional steps should be taken to make existing resources better known. According to the report, “Despite Limited English Proficient (LEP) assistance being available through features like touchscreen voting machines, our poll watchers shared that, when you enter a polling place, it is not clear that any assistance for LEP voters is available.”

The report also highlights the importance of hiring and retaining bilingual or multilingual poll workers.

Advancing Justice | Chicago identified several systemic areas for improvement including:

  • Improving training so that poll workers are better equipped to assist LEP voters and voters with disabilities;
  • Hire additional bilingual poll workers from the communities they are working in;
  • Creating new polling place signs to increase visibility on the type of assistance and resources available for LEP voters and voters with disabilities; and
  • Hiring staff with dedicated responsibilities to conduct outreach to Korean and Filipino communities.

During the February elections, Advancing Justice | Chicago monitored 105 precinct polling places. In April 106, precinct polling places and eight vote centers were monitored. Volunteers observed 99 percent of the designated Asian language precinct polling locations.

Advancing Justice | Chicago started its poll watching program in 2003. The program aims to ensure that all eligible voters have fair and equitable access to the polls, with particular attention to historically disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants. Advancing Justice | Chicago will be monitoring the 2024 elections and is accepting new volunteers. To read the full report click here.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. We do this by developing grassroots leaders, advocacy, and civic engagement.

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Statement on Death of Wadea Al-Fayoume and Rising Islamophobia

Our hearts are heavy with the news from Plainfield, Illinois, where a landlord violently attacked six-year-old Palestinian American boy Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother Hanaan Shahin in a horrific act of Islamophobia. The attack took Wadea’s life and left his mother severely injured. Less than a week later, a man threatened to shoot two Muslim men in Lombard, Illinois.

Multiple Muslim and Jewish American groups have reported upticks in threats and hate mail in the past week. With escalating violence and climbing death tolls in Gaza, we know that these developments abroad, and the media narrative surrounding them, impact our communities at home. We mourn the loss of innocent lives in Plainfield, Palestine, and Israel, and we offer our deepest condolences to all families who have lost loved ones.

The threat to Muslim American communities and anyone perceived to be Muslim has particularly intensified as politicians at all levels of government and members of the media have fanned the flames of Islamophobia with selective outrage over Hamas’s attack on Israeli civilians while remaining silent on what a United Nations expert is calling a “grave danger of mass ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians by the Israeli government.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago calls on politicians and members of the media to share a complete and nuanced story of continued developments so as not to obscure historical context and endanger more of our neighbors with the horrifying consequences of rhetoric that paints an entire community as violent.

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Erase The Gang Database Coalition Celebrates First Major Public Safety Victory Under Johnson Administration

Below is a statement from the Erase the Gang Database Coalition:

“After a years-long campaign, the Erase the Gang Database coalition celebrates yesterday’s vote by Chicago’s Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability to erase the city’s racist and ineffective gang database.

This moment was years in the making after Chicagoans across the city made their voices loud and clear that they do not support a system that targets and criminalizes Black and brown people.

Community groups held rallies, protests, press conferences, signed petitions, filed lawsuits, and more to bring an end to the database, which was deemed ineffective by the city’s own Inspector General in an April 2019 audit. Anthony Driver and the CCPSA heard those calls and took appropriate action.

Though we know this is just the first step in ending the city’s harmful surveillance practices, we are committed to making sure no other databases are created and that those harmed by this system are made whole again.

This is the first major victory to reimagine public safety under the Johnson administration and fulfills a major campaign promise. The success of the Erase the Gang Database campaign is a significant milestone that demonstrates Chicago is ready to implement alternatives to systems of racist policing and instead prioritize addressing root causes of violence by investing in our communities. Our coalition is eager to continue this momentum by working to support and pass initiatives like Bring Chicago Home, Stop Shotspotter, Treatment Not Trauma, and other important proposals that safeguard the lives and futures of the city’s residents.”


The Erase the Gang Database Coalition is made up of organizations in Chicago, Illinois organizing against criminalization, surveillance, incarceration and police violence. 

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NOW HIRING! Community Organizer

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

For 30 years, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (“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, education equity, criminal justice, 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 region and collaborating with partners across Midwestern states to tackle common struggles and build collective power.

Asian American Midwest Progressives builds political power through collective advocacy and electoral organizing to achieve racial equity.

Founded in December 2018, Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) endorses progressive candidates, mobilizes Asian American voters, and holds elected officials accountable through issue-based campaigns. Currently, AAMP organizes in Illinois and Ohio.


The Community Organizer position is an opportunity for a strategic and motivated relationship-builder to build power with youth (ages 15-25) in the Asian American community, develop grassroots leadership, lead strategic issue campaigns, and move community members to take action.

This position will fall under the staff sharing agreement between Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) so a portion of time will be spent on 501(c)(4) activities including partisan electoral work.

Key Advancing Justice | Chicago Responsibilities:

  • Develop grassroots, Asian American youth leaders who want to build power, work on issue campaigns, and advance racial equity; prioritize recruiting and developing immigrant, refugee, and working class Asian American student leaders in Chicago Public Schools and colleges/universities in Chicagoland;
  • Organize youth leaders and community members to take action on our key issue areas such as education equity and immigrant justice (e.g. supporting them to use tactics such as meeting with elected officials, public education, direct actions and more);
  • Organize in-person and virtual events, workshops, and trainings;
  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago in coalition spaces and contribute to coalition-led issue-based campaigns, primarily around education equity;
  • Staff Advancing Justice | Chicago’s A Just Chi base’s new member & recruitment working group, including mentoring volunteer core leaders and working to create pathways for new leaders to join issue working groups and become active members with the organization;
  • Engage a broader base of individuals through digital outreach (e.g., SMS/texting outreach, emails, social media, etc.);
  • Complete database updates, reimbursement request forms, timesheets, and other administrative tasks as they pertain to the work;
  • Assist development staff in program-related fundraising;
  • Collaborate with other staff on organization-wide initiatives.

Key Asian American Midwest Progressives Responsibilities:

  • Develop grassroots youth leaders to build political power through electoral organizing;
  • Organize canvasses, phonebanks, and other voter outreach and field work targeting high school- and college-age voters and youth leaders.


  • You have at least 1 cumulative year of experience in issue-based campaigns and/or electoral organizing as a staff member or volunteer and have gained skills and experience in:
      • Base-building by recruiting leaders through various methods (hosting or attending events, leading phone/canvass outreach etc.), conducting 1-1 meetings, and moving them up a ladder of engagement;
      • Planning/leading a significant piece of an issue and/or electoral campaign (field strategy, lobbying/legislative strategy, mobilizing grassroots leaders, research meetings etc.)
      • Partisan and/or non-partisan outreach to voters and community members through phone-banks, door-to-door canvasses, and/or text-banks;
      • Engaging government officials and decision-makers to educate them on issues and/or lobbying them to support a particular bill;
    • You understand the fundamentals of organizing and that your role as an organizer is to find, develop, and support leaders in taking collective action to achieve structural change on issues that affect their lives;
    • You are detail oriented and have excellent organizational, time management and project management skills; you can handle multiple priorities, keep projects moving, make sure things don’t slip through the cracks, respond to email and other communications in a timely manner, and meet deadlines;
    • You are a clear, effective, and empathetic communicator and have excellent written and verbal communication skills whether writing an internal email or giving a presentation; you can speak clearly on behalf of the organization and support community members in doing the same;
    • You are deeply committed to self-reflection, growth mindset, accountability, and navigating conflict directly and compassionately; you understand that self-awareness, personal healing and transformation are critical to movement work;
    • You are deeply committed to social justice, racial equity, and civil rights; you recognize how race, class, gender, immigration status, and other identities impact different communities, and you see how your own identities show up in the work;
    • You have a proven track record of building strong relationships and serious appetite for meeting new people whether by going door-to-door or making calls and want to meet people where they are at to bring them into the work;
    • You have strong self-starting work habits that demonstrate creativity, initiative, and mission-orientation; you make things happen in alignment with your work plan and responsibilities while also being open to receiving direction;
    • You want to learn new skills and welcome coaching, training, and feedback;
    • You know community organizing work is ever evolving and are open and willing to adapt and respond to changing environments;
    • You can be flexible in working hours, including working some evenings and weekends, to meet community members when they are available (compensatory time is offered for evening and weekend work);
    • You are proficient in online platforms and work tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, and Microsoft 365/Microsoft Office Suite;

Experience with any of the following is helpful but not required:

  • Working in Asian American or immigrant communities;
  • Leading trainings on community organizing principles or skills;
  • Issue area expertise around education equity and immigrant justice;
  • Working for elected officials or in government in another capacity;
  • Bilingual in English and an Asian language.


Exempt, full-time position. The starting salary range for the Community Organizer position is $50,000 – $60,000 based on experience. Advancing Justice | Chicago offers a generous full benefits package. This position is represented by a collective bargaining unit and is subject to the terms and conditions of the contract between Advancing Justice | Chicago and the Chicago News Guild.


Applications should be submitted via email to and include:

  • Letter of interest/cover letter
  • Resume
  • 2 references (please include name, title, relationship, email address, and phone number)

Please include “Community Organizer” in the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but applications received by Sunday, September 10th will be prioritized.

Note: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Advancing Justice | Chicago staff are currently working in-person at our Uptown office at least two days a week, with optional remote work for three days a week, which is subject to change. If you are invited for an interview, the interview may be held in person or over video conference.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply, regardless of race, color, creed, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, height, weight, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital or domestic partner status, or religious affiliation.

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Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP strongly support conversion of Broadway Armory into temporary shelter for asylum-seekers. 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives are non-profit organizations dedicated to building power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Many of our community leaders call the historically diverse neighborhoods of Uptown and Edgewater home and organize with Asian Americans and allies across Chicagoland for a more just and equitable city and state for all.

As organizations committed to supporting immigrants and refugees and centering the needs of our most vulnerable community members, we strongly support the move to convert the Broadway Armory into a temporary shelter for recently arrived asylum-seekers.

Uptown and Edgewater have for decades been home to generations of refugees and migrants from all over the world. As Asian Americans whose families have been displaced by war, economic hardship, and political instability, we understand intimately the trauma and difficulties of fleeing your home country and seeking safety in another land.

The difficulty of finding safe housing solutions for our new neighbors comes as no surprise. Chicago is in a housing crisis. With more than 65,000 individuals experiencing houselessness in Chicago, our local agencies have been overwhelmed and underfunded for decades.

We urge the city to continue to identify safe temporary shelters for migrants and move asylum-seekers out of police stations as soon as possible. In addition, we know the city can and must use this moment as an opportunity to greatly expand its affordable housing system and create long-term solutions. Permanent solutions like the Bring Chicago Home campaign to create a dedicated fund for affordable housing are necessary to ensure that all residents have a safe place to live.

We look forward to continuing our work with community partners and allies to ensure Chicago is truly a sanctuary city—for newly arrived asylum-seekers and for all people who call our city home. 


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Advancing Justice | Chicago focuses on five key issue areas: immigrant justice, language access, criminal justice reform & public safety for all, voting rights & democracy, and education equity.  

Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organizaiton dedicated building political power in the Midwest through collective advocacy and electoral organizing to achieve racial equity. Founded in 2019, AAMP currently has chapters in Illinois and Ohio.  

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