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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06.23.2022

40 Years after the Murder of Vincent Chin, We Honor Our Community’s Resilience in the Face of Hate

(Photo Credit: Vincentchin.org, PBS, CAAM)

By John C. Yang, Connie Chung Joe, Grace Pai

Vincent Chin would be 67 today if he hadn’t been killed. Forty years ago, he was brutally beaten to death by two white men in Detroit who had mistook him, a Chinese American, as Japanese and a foreigner. The murderers never served time in jail.

Vincent Chin’s death, and the failure of justice that followed, sparked outcry from our communities across the country, marking a turning point for the Asian American civil rights movement. From organizing rallies to political advocacy, Asian Americans from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life came together as a united front to fight against racist violence and seek justice for Vincent Chin. This momentum led to the birth of many Asian American civil rights organizations we see today, and we are proud to helm three of the leading organizations who dedicate their mission to serving our communities and fighting for our civil rights.

Parallels of Then and Now
The forty-year anniversary meets our community at a dark and difficult time. Anti-Asian hate and violence is a constant threat as our nation reckons with hate and systemic racism that have inflicted lasting harm on all communities of color. The world we live in today parallels the world in 1982 in many ways. Vincent Chin’s murder happened during a time of increasing economic competition with Japan and its growing auto industry, rising inflation, and insecurities about employment that led to increasing xenophobia and racial tensions. Asian Americans were scapegoated and treated as “perpetual foreigners’’ in the country we call home. In the wake of Vincent Chin‘s murder, we rose up in unprecedented numbers for the first time under the umbrella identity “Asian American” to demand justice. We also demanded justice for centuries of discrimination and mistreatment, because despite the rich diversity of history and culture within the Asian American community, we all share the common experience of exclusion and “othering.”

Forty years later, Asian Americans once again are facing the rise of hate and violence targeting our communities. Anti-Asian sentiments have reached a new high in the past two years. We are being wrongly blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing hate and blame manifested in the form of racial slurs, harassment, and violence against the most vulnerable in our communities. With rising geopolitical tensions on the global stage, we are seeing a resurgence of xenophobic, anti-China rhetoric from politicians who scapegoat our communities for economic woes and challenges beyond our control — further fueling racial bias and emboldening others to target Asian Americans and treat us with suspicion.

Our Resilience Won’t Be Denied
As we remember Vincent Chin’s legacy, we also mourn lives lost in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Uvalde, and too many others to name. Yet in the face of hate, our communities continue to rise in resilience. Countless individuals are taking action to send a message that we will not tolerate hate in this country. We applaud the courage of civil rights advocates, community leaders, allies, and everyday people who continue to speak out and challenge the status quo. We call for our government to take action in combating race-based violence and addressing systemic racism in our country. With midterm elections approaching, Asian Americans and the broader American society must stay vigilant to politicians who attempt to use racial rhetoric to inflame anti-Asian sentiments and stigmatize our communities for their own political gain. We remain determined in this fight against hate in all forms as we advocate for not only our own communities, but also for all marginalized groups who have been harmed and were denied justice.

Forty years ago, people from across racial groups came together to work towards tearing down the walls of discrimination and exclusion. Today, it has never been more important to stay united with our allied communities of color to dismantle white supremacy and fight for racial justice so that all can feel safe, protected, and thrive in the nation we call home.

Click here to read the story

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John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice — AAJC, Grace Pai, Executive Director of Advancing Justice — Chicago, and Connie Chung Joe, Chief Executive Officer of Advancing Justice — LA are part of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation whose organizations are dedicated to advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all.

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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

CPS’ Skinner North integrates Asian American history into curriculum in interactive ways

TEAACH Act, which requires Asian American history be taught in K-12 schools, takes effect across Illinois this fall

By , ABC7 Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) — It’s been almost a year since Governor JB Pritzker signed the Teach Equitable Asian American Community History Act, known as the TEAACH Act, requiring that Asian American history be taught in public schools.

It goes into effect this fall, but one CPS school has already started making sure Asian American history and culture are taught and celebrated in the classroom.

At Skinner North Classical School, Asian American history isn’t just for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. They believe it should be center stage throughout the school year.

“Everybody should be represented, because it’s history,” 4th grade teacher Abbey Castillo said. “And it’s not accurate if we’re leaving out stories.”

The Near North Side CPS school is integrating Asian American history and culture into the curriculum in interactive ways. Fourth grader Matthew Escuadro has been taking it all in.

“It makes me feel pretty happy just to learn about what things were like back then and what people did, and how people of my culture did what they did,” Escuadro said.

Skinner North recently partnered with CIRCA-Pintig to act out stories of Filipino Americans on stage.

“I remember when we were getting started in one of the classrooms, you know, we said, ‘Okay, it’s time for reading now,'” CIRCA-Pintig Executive Director Ginger Leopoldo said. “And the kids are like, ‘Oh, reading, oh,’… ‘But you’re going to be acting, you’re going to be acting the stories.’ And then there was like this big cheer.”

Their approach could be a model for schools across the state. The TEAACH Act was signed into law last summer requiring Asian American history be taught in k-12 schools. It goes into effect next school year.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice has been preparing resources for schools to use in the classroom.

Read the full article on AB7Chicago 

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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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