News

02.08.2024

NOW HIRING! Campaigns Director

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

For over 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.  

Founded in 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. 

POSITION DESCRIPTION 

This role is an exciting opportunity for a strategic organizer and relationship-builder to serve as the Campaigns Director for Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP. The Campaigns Director will co-lead the Organizing Team and co-create strategy for issue campaigns with the Organizing Director. In addition, the Campaigns Director will serve as the primary lobbyist for both organizations, represent Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP in coalition spaces, lead political education and lobbying trainings for grassroots leaders and coalition partners, and create external communications and talking points for priority issue campaigns. As a member of the leadership team, the Campaigns Director will also be responsible for guiding organization-wide decisions, maintaining healthy organizational culture, and supervising the Communications Manager. This position reports to the Executive Director.  

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 political work. 

Key Advancing Justice | Chicago Responsibilities: 

  • Build strong relationships and advocate with elected officials and other decision-makers at the city, state, and county levels to advance advocacy efforts;  
    – Organize regular meetings with the Asian American Caucus and Asian American Legislative Caucus;
    – Serve as Advancing Justice | Chicago’s primary lobbyist in Springfield and complete all required reporting for registered lobbyists; 
  • Co-lead priority issue campaigns with the Organizing Director, including developing campaign strategy, coordinating with legislative sponsors, managing coalition partners, and coordinating with Organizing Team staff; 
  • Supervise the Communications Manager; 
  • Lead Advancing Justice | Chicago’s democracy and voting rights work, including a poll monitoring program and advocacy with local election authorities;   
  • Convene and lead the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition, including coordinating the Steering Committee, organizing full coalition meetings three times per year, and developing the PAVE Coalition’s annual legislative agenda; 
  • Track and analyze legislation relevant to Advancing Justice | Chicago’s priority issue areas, including immigration, language access, voting rights/democracy, education equity, and criminal justice;  
  • Support the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition’s annual lobby day (Asian American Action Day) by leading all lobbying preparation and training; 
  • Draft talking points and external communications for issues campaigns, including press releases in collaboration with the Communications Manager;  
  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago in external coalitions, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Just Democracy Illinois; 
  • Collaborate with the other Advancing Justice affiliates on national campaigns or joint projects, such as the biannual Asian Americans Advancing Justice National Summit;
    – Partner with fellow Advancing Justice affiliates on immigration and voting rights and participate in monthly calls for each issue area;   
  • Provide media interviews on key issues and current events, as needed;  
  • Educate our staff, grassroots leaders, and others on policy issues, as needed; 
  • Support and when appropriate take lead on organization-wide events and activities including direct actions, press conferences, rallies, lobby days, and other events as needed;  
  • Provide regular updates to the Advancing Justice | Chicago Board of Directors;  
  • Other duties as assigned.  

Key Asian American Midwest Progressives Responsibilities: 

  • Lead and execute AAMP’s grassroots endorsement process, which typically takes place during state-level primary elections and Chicago municipal elections; 
  • Steward co-governing relationships with endorsed candidates and key decision makers at city, county, and state levels; 
  • Serve as AAMP’s primary lobbyist in Springfield and complete all required reporting for registered lobbyists; 
  • Represent AAMP in external coalitions, including the Illinois Alignment Table; 
  • Provide support for political events, such as public meetings, forums, etc.; 
  • Assist in fundraising for AAMP, including but not limited to contributing to grant proposals/reports and participating in site visits with funders; 
  • Provide regular updates to the AAMP Board of Directors; 
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Required Qualifications: 

As both a Senior Staff member and a public face of Advancing Justice | Chicago, the Campaigns Director should be a strategic thinker and excellent communicator with impeccable follow-through and time management. The Campaigns Director should demonstrate a unique blend of qualities and skills that reflect a passion and commitment to the organization’s mission, including the following:  

  • Strong belief in the mission of the organization and uncompromising commitment to advancing racial equity;  
  • 3-5 years of experience in policy advocacy or lobbying elected officials or government policy makers, including a deep knowledge of state, local, and/or federal legislative processes;  
  • Significant experience with issue-based campaigns, including campaign strategy and tactics;  
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills and ability to persuade others;   
  • Excellent follow-through on commitments and ability to hold others accountable; 
  • Highly effective interpersonal, leadership, consensus-building, and coalition-building skills, with the ability to forge new relationships and foster existing ones;   
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects, work well with others under pressure, set and meet deadlines, and manage time effectively; 
  • Ability to communicate complex policy with multiple audiences, especially grassroots community members;   
  • Commitment to proactively sharing and thoughtfully receiving feedback; 
  • Openness and ability to adapt and respond to changes in the environment, and creatively adapt strategies and tactics as needed;  
  • Knowledge of Asian American and/or immigrant/refugee issues;   
  • Willingness to travel out-of-town and work evenings or weekends as needed (flex time is offered for evening and weekend work) – during the busiest part of the Springfield legislative session (February to May), out of town travel is typically 2-4 times per month for 1-3 nights per trip. 
  • Proficiency with online platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft 365/Microsoft Office Suite, and Google Drive. 

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Strong understanding of the role that communications and media play in grassroots organizing and advocacy;   
  • Experience supervising staff;   
  • Familiarity with administrative aspects of a non-profit organization, including resource development;  
  • Reliable access to a vehicle for local and out-of-town work travel 

COMPENSATION 

Exempt, full-time position. As a member of our leadership team, this role has a salary range of $85,000-95,000. However, we are open to filling this role at a non-leadership team level if necessary, so we encourage individuals to apply even if you don’t meet all the qualifications listed. The salary range for a non-leadership team director role would be $75,000-85,000. Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP offer a generous full benefits package. 

INQUIRY AND APPLICATION PROCESS 

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to work@advancingjustice-chicago.org and include: 

  • Cover letter describing interest in the position, qualifications, and expectations,  
  • Resume;  
  • 2 writing samples of your choosing; and 
  • Names of three references who can speak to the range of qualifications sought. 
    – If you have supervision experience, please include a recent supervisee/direct report as one of your references 

Please include “Campaigns Director” in the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but applications received by Sunday, March 3rd, 2024 will be prioritized. 

Note: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP staff are currently working in-person at our Uptown office two days a week (Tue/Thu) with optional work-from-home three days a week (Mon/Weds/Fri), 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 and Asian American Midwest Progressives are equal opportunity/affirmative action employers. 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. 

www.AdvancingJustice-Chicago.org 

 

 

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NOW HIRING! Communications Manager

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

For over 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.  

Founded in 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.

POSITION DESCRIPTION 

This role is an exciting opportunity for a strategic, creative, and analytical communications expert to co-create and manage the organization’s communications and outreach strategy to a wide variety of audiences, including the media, volunteer leaders, policy makers, and the public at large. 

The Communications Manager will play an essential role in building organizational visibility and establishing a shared communications strategy to win policies that move forward the organizational priorities of immigrant rights, criminal justice/police accountability, education equity, voting rights, and language justice. The Communications Manager will manage and execute the strategy to elevate the organization’s voice and viewpoints to advance these issue and fundraising campaigns by developing relationships with local, state, and ethnic media and other key stakeholders. 

The Communications Manager will work in the organizing team and report to the Campaigns Director. 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 RESPONSIBILITIES  

Leadership, Strategy & Implementation 

  • Working closely with the Campaigns Director, the Communications Manager will function as a digital organizer and the strategic communications lead, creating and executing a robust external communications strategy for both organizations that build ladders of engagement and connect our online outreach, offline field work, public actions, and leadership development work; 
  • Coordinate with the Advancing Justice affiliates to release joint statements and advance federal campaign goals through narrative work; 
  • Track all media contacts and earned media coverage, continuously analyzing and recommending ways to improve organizational visibility; 
  • Track and regularly report on digital analytics and metrics, suggest and implement changes to increase engagement across digital platforms (email, social media, website); 
  • Maintain an informed understanding of current developments around issues and campaigns that Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP work on as well as current news and social media trends, ensuring that the organization can engage in appropriate rapid response communications and overseeing any such rapid response protocols;  
  • Train and build the capacity of organizing staff to integrate digital organizing technology in their roles; 
  • Collaborate with Development Manager and organizing staff to gather compelling stories and data to increase donor engagement and act as liaison between organizing team and the development team particularly for End of Year and AAPI Heritage Month fundraising campaign communications; 
  • Create an annual report for Advancing Justice | Chicago that showcases our impact. 

Media Relations 

  • Develop and actively cultivate Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP’s relationships with media, including reporters, editors, and producers at key mainstream and ethnic media outlets by engaging in persuasive and creative pitching on a regular basis and responding to media requests in a timely manner; 
  • Provide media/spokesperson training to key stakeholders, including staff and grassroots volunteer leaders. 

Communications & Content Creation  

  • Create compelling visual and written online and offline content that mobilizes supporters and partners to participate in Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP’s campaigns, including social media graphics, actions emails and pages, fliers, factsheets and popular education materials; 
  • Copy edit external communications, including social media content and membership newsletters to ensure consistency and accuracy of organizational messaging; 
  • Create and send regular Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP newsletters, manage all social media accounts, and track and update contacts in Salesforce to ensure consistent and effective membership and stakeholder engagement; 
  • Regularly update, clean, and segment the Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP email lists; 
  • Organize and track organizational photos and videos; 
  • Manage and update the Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP websites to ensure better communication of each organization’s mission, impact, and pathways for engagement; 
  • Other duties as assigned.

You should apply if (KEY QUALIFICATIONS): 

  • You have 2-4 years of Communications experience, preferably at a non-profit or in media; 
  • You are a digital organizer and storyteller who can hold multiple perspectives: You understand the power of narrative and storytelling in all forms for movement work, are passionate about things like ladders of engagement and moving people from online to offline activism (and vice versa) and are already personally active on social media; you can think through different perspectives on a topic to develop distinct content for different audiences and make the connections between issue areas and policies for diverse communities; 
  • You can synthesize and distill: You can break down big complex issues into their components and essential elements; 
  • You like to keep up to date with the news and the world around you; 
  • You are both relational and analytical, able to switch seamlessly from an audience interaction (training, presentation, etc.) to writing an insightful analysis of campaign performance and translating the organization’s strategic goals into a tactical media plan; 
  • You are an expert across a variety of media, including digital, social, and traditional, demonstrating advanced knowledge in all areas; 
  • You have a depth of paid media experience to inform your work but also bring new ideas and thinking to the team; 
  • You are detail oriented and have excellent organizational, time management and project management skills; you can handle multiple priorities, keep projects moving while keeping the team informed, 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 strong self-starting work habits that demonstrate creativity, initiative, and mission-orientation; you constantly exercise independent judgment to make things happen in alignment with your responsibilities while also being open to receiving direction; 
  • You want to learn new skills and welcome coaching, training, and feedback; 
  • You know movement 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 and stakeholders when they are available (flex time is offered for evening and weekend work – typically 1-2 evening or weekend events per month for this role); 
  • You are proficient in online platforms and work tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, and Microsoft 365/Microsoft Office Suite; you can learn how to use new technology relatively quickly.

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

  • Working in Asian American or immigrant communities; 
  • Issue area expertise around any of our five priority areas; 
  • Working for elected officials or in government in another capacity; 
  • Bilingual in English and an Asian language. 

COMPENSATION  

This is an exempt, full-time position. 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. The starting salary range is $65,000 – $75,000, depending on experience. Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP offer a generous full benefits package. 

INQUIRY AND APPLICATION PROCESS 

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to work@advancingjustice-chicago.org and include: 

  • Cover letter describing interest in the position, qualifications, and expectations, 
  • Resume; 
  • Two writing samples of your choosing; 
  • Two design samples of your choosing or link to portfolio; and 
  • Names and relationship of three references who can speak to the range of qualifications sought. 

Please include “Communications Manager Application” in the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but applications received by Sunday, March 10, 2024 will be prioritized. 

Note: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP staff are currently working in-person at our Uptown office two days a week (Tue/Thu) with optional work-from-home three days a week (Mon/Weds/Fri), 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. 

www.AdvancingJustice-Chicago.org 

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12.20.2023

NOW HIRING! Organizing Manager

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

For over 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 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. 

POSITION DESCRIPTION 

The Organizing Manager position is an opportunity for a strategic and motivated relationship-builder to build power in the Asian American community by supervising community organizers, developing grassroots leadership, leading and supporting staff/leaders on strategic issue campaigns, and moving community members to take action. We are looking for an excellent manager who is committed to developing the base-building and campaign leadership skills of their staff/leaders and to strengthening the intergenerational, multi-entity organizing infrastructure of Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives. 

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: 

    • Supervise 2 community organizers (Community Organizers for I Speak Power adult/elder limited English-proficient base and KINETIC high school through college youth base) — supervision responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

– Weekly supervisory check-ins;
– Coaching and holding staff accountable to fulfilling their base-building goals, campaign responsibilities, and grant deliverables;
– Setting clear performance expectations, tracking progress, and building the capacity and organizational commitment of supervisees;
– Quarterly workplan review and supervisee-to-manager feedback;
– Annual performance evaluation;
– Assisting staff with program budget management (if necessary);
– Monthly check-ins with senior staff for support and feedback.

  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago in coalition spaces and contribute to coalition-led issue-based campaigns; 
  • Lead efforts to recruit, develop, and support volunteer leaders directly impacted by the intersection of criminalization and immigration in collaboration with staff organizers for each base; 
  • Support organizing team members in identifying and following through on intergenerational organizing opportunities; 
  • Support Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP non-partisan collaboration infrastructure, including 1-2 joint membership assemblies annually; 
  • Organize community members to take action on Advancing Justice’s key issues, particularly voting rights and democracy and the intersection of criminalization and immigration; 
  • Assist development staff in program-related fundraising; 
  • Collaborate with other staff on organization-wide initiatives. 

Key Asian American Midwest Progressives Responsibilities: 

  • Develop grassroots leaders to build political power through electoral organizing and build out and lead year-round 501(c)(4) base-building infrastructure, including monthly meetings, community outreach, and other in-person and virtual events as appropriate; 
  • Assist in executing AAMP’s grassroots endorsement process; 
  • Organize canvasses, phonebanks, and other voter outreach and field work and/or manage temporary contract field organizers during election season; 
  • Engage a broader base of individuals through virtual outreach (e.g., SMS/texting outreach, emails, social media, etc.); 
  • Plan and execute political events such as public meetings, forums, etc.;  
  • Support stewarding co-governing relationships with endorsed candidates and key decision makers at city, state, and county levels; 
  • Assist in fundraising for AAMP as needed. 

Qualifications: 

      • At least 2 years of experience in community organizing/base-building, grassroots leadership development, and working on issue-based campaigns; 
      • At least 1 year of experience in electoral organizing, political campaigns, and field work; 
      • At least 1 year of experience effectively managing, coaching, or mentoring individuals for leadership and professional development purposes; 
      • Ability to effectively supervise multiple individuals, including permanent and temporary staff; 
      • Strong commitment to social justice, racial equity, and civil rights; 
      • Proven track record of building strong relationships; 
      • Ability to work independently, think creatively, and prioritize multiple tasks; 
      • Ability to learn new skills and willingness to be coached and trained; 
      • Detail-oriented, organized, and able to manage time effectively, 
      • Commitment to proactively sharing and thoughtfully receiving feedback; 
      • Excellent written and oral communication skills; 
      • Openness and ability to adapt and respond to changes in the environment; 
      • Flexible working hours to meet with volunteer leaders, including some evenings and weekends (compensatory time is offered for evening and weekend work—typically 3-5 evening meetings with volunteer leaders per month); 
      • Proficiency with online platforms 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 the intersection of criminalization and immigration;
      Intergenerational organizing experience;
      – Multi-entity organizing experience (e.g. 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and/or PAC);
      – Working for elected officials or in government in another capacity;
      – Bilingual in English and an Asian language. 

COMPENSATION 

This is an exempt, full-time position. The starting salary range for the Organizing Manager position is $65,000 – $75,000 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. 

INQUIRY AND APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications should be submitted via email to work@advancingjustice-chicago.org and include: 

  • Letter of interest/cover letter 
  • Resume 
  • Writing sample of your choosing 
  • 3 references (please include name, title, and email address and/or phone number) 
  • One of the references must be a recent supervisee/direct report 

Please include “Organizing Manager” in the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but applications received by Sunday, February 4th 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. 

www.AdvancingJustice-Chicago.org

 

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11.06.2023

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


CHICAGO 
– 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.

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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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10.26.2023

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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