News

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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Asian Americans Condemn Racist Violence and Call for Systemic Change in the Wake of Multiple Mass Shootings Around the Country

For Immediate Release

CHICAGO, IL — May 23, 2022 – Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago issues the following statement:

Our hearts are heavy as we see anti-Asian racism and racist violence continue to rise, with multiple mass shootings reported around the country this month. We grieve with the survivors and with the families and loved ones of those killed and harmed. We are reminded again of the terrible consequences of white supremacy and structural racism. 

In Dallas, Texas, a suspect was detained on Monday for shooting and injuring three Korean American women at an Asian-run salon after repeatedly expressing anti-Asian bigotry. In Buffalo, New York, a self-identifying white supremacist suspect targeted a predominantly Black neighborhood supermarket and shot and killed ten Black community members. In Laguna Woods, California, a suspect motivated by political conflicts in Taiwan attacked an elderly Taiwanese church congregation leaving one person dead and five wounded. In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at least 17 were wounded in a shooting which happened blocks from the arena where an N.B.A. playoff game ended hours earlier. In Chicago, a 16-year-old Black youth was killed during a large gathering in Millennium Park last week, to which Mayor Lightfoot responded with a crackdown imposing a restrictive curfew for minors.  

As Asian Americans have endured intensifying anti-Asian racism and violence with hate crimes against Asians increasing by 339 percent last year [1], we know that we are not alone. Black people in the U.S. are more likely than any other community to experience hate crimes and racist violence [2]. All marginalized communities and communities of color suffer when the root causes of violence remain unaddressed.  

To prevent violence, we must work together to address the underlying root causes through deep investment in our communities: fully-funded public schools, affordable housing, living wage jobs, high quality healthcare and mental health services that are accessible to all—crucial resources like these are what nurture and sustain healthy and safe communities. And through policy changes like the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act, we can create inclusive education that helps build empathy and understanding across lines of difference. 

As we remember and honor everyone we have lost, we call on our community members to come together to demand systemic change, and to get involved as we work in solidarity with all communities of color to dismantle white supremacy and racist violence in all its forms. 

[1] Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/anti-asian-hate-crimes-increased-339-percent-nationwide-last-year-repo-rcna14282 

[2] Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/16/us/hate-crimes-black-african-americans.html 

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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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05.19.2022

Heritage Month Happenings

Heritage Month Happenings

What: A Just Chi Happy Hour  
When: Thursday, May 24, 2022
Time: 5:30 – 7pm CT
Where: BITES asian kitchen + bar (3313 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657)
RSVP

Portion of the proceeds benefit Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

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What: AAPI Donation Class Day at Lululemon 
Led by Instructor Manny Garcia of The Collective Yoga Co-Op
When: Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Time: 7:15am, 12:00pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm CT
Where: Lululemon Experiential Store (944 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642)
Register

All donations go to Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

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What: Apologue X Long Room Present: Hit Me With Your Best Shot! Part Deux 
When: Sunday, May 29, 2022
Time: 6pm
Where: Long Room (1612 W Irving Park Rd #1, Chicago, IL 60613)

Proceeds benefit Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

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What: $1 Off Every Order of Duck Duck Goat’s Scallion Pancakes
When: Throughout all of May
Where: Duck Duck Goat (857 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607)

Proceeds benefit Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

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What: Soju Lemondrops made with @west32newyork soju, vodka, royal combier, lemon, lavender grapefruit bitters & a lemon sugar rim.
When: Throughout all of May
Where: Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar (2165 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647)

Proceeds benefit Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

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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Volunteer Opportunity: Poll Watching– IL Primary Election: June 28, 2022

Volunteer Opportunity: Poll Watching– IL Primary Election: June 28, 2022  

Be a part of Advancing Justice | Chicago long-running poll watching program. Help protect democracy and language access at the polls! 

When: Tuesday, June 28, 2022 

Where: Chicago, Suburban Cook County 

Volunteer poll watchers will be expected to go to polling sites during two to four hour shifts. During your visits, you will check for language and disability access (e.g., translated materials), and ensure voter harassment and disenfranchisement do not occur. You will be trained and equipped with the tools to resolve a wide variety of issues. Volunteer poll monitors will have access to a legal support hotline that will help in addressing and resolving problems you may encounter. 

Note that this is an in-person volunteer opportunity, and you will be asked to enter indoor voting locations where you will encounter poll workers and voters who are not required to wear masks. Please take this into consideration when deciding whether you would like to participate in our program. 

Volunteer Requirements: 

  • No experience necessary 
  • Legal and non-legal backgrounds welcome 
  • Poll watchers must be registered Illinois voters, pursuant to State law 
  • Must be fully vaccinated 
  • Basic English skills (limited English fluency is completely fine) 
  • No language skills beyond English are required, but we are especially seeking speakers of these languages – Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Filipino/Tagalog.  

Time Commitment: In addition to two or four hour shifts, volunteers may need to travel up to 30-60 minutes to their assigned polling places. Volunteers will also be asked to attend a 90-minute online training session prior to volunteering. Advancing Justice |Chicago makes every effort to reduce travel time while still ensuring that coverage needs are met. 

Sign Up To Volunteer 

Questions regarding Advancing Justice | Chicago’s Poll Monitoring Program can be directed to Kim Leung at kleung@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

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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05.10.2022

Asian American Leaders Celebrate Creation of Chicago’s First Asian American Majority Ward in Chicago United Map

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Grace Pai, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

310-433-1107, gpai@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Justin Sia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

224-622-7992, jsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

City Council’s new ward map gives stronger voice to  Asian American communities in Chinatown and Albany Park.

CHICAGO, IL — May 10, 2022 — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago applauds Chicago City Council for producing a citywide ward map that creates Chicago’s first Asian American majority ward and unifies Albany Park’s Asian American and immigrant community into one ward. 

“Asian American representation in City Hall has been long-overdue,” said Justin Sia, Democracy, Voting Rights, and Redistricting Counsel at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “Our historic redistricting achievements will allow Asian American voters to have greater influence in local elections and will help elevate the unique issues that impact our community.”

Formerly splintered into multiple wards, Greater Chinatown residents will now be represented by one Alderperson in Chicago’s first Asian American majority ward. “We are thrilled that City Council has created Chicago’s first Asian American majority ward following months of advocacy by community leaders,” said Grace Pai, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “With Asian Americans making up a majority of Ward 11, the Greater Chinatown community will finally have a unified voice and be able to elect a leader that is accountable to the entire community.” We are especially thankful for Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez for advocating for the Asian American majority ward. Our redistricting partner organizations included the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Pui Tak Center, and Chinese American Service League.

On the north side, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, alongside our redistricting partner organizations, notched another win by successfully advocating for the consolidation of the Asian American and immigrant community in Albany Park into one ward, previously split into three wards. The new Ward 33 boundaries will bolster our community’s influence in City Council by allowing one Alderperson to focus on addressing the unique issues directly affecting Asians and immigrants. We are grateful for Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez for helping lead the effort to consolidate and empower this community. Advancing Justice | Chicago’s redistricting partner organizations included the HANA Center, Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, and the Cambodian Association of Illinois.

However, City Council failed to unify the vibrant South Asian community in West Ridge into one ward. “We are deeply disappointed that the South Asian community in West Ridge continues to be split across two wards,” said Pai. “Given the fast-growing South Asian population in this area, we are hopeful that Ward 50 could become Chicago’s next Asian American majority ward in 2031.” Advancing Justice | Chicago’s redistricting partner organizations included the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute, the Indo-American Center, and the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition.

As the Asian American community continues to build political power through this decade and beyond, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago will continue to hold City Council accountable and uplift issues that are important to Asian American communities across 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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