Voter suppression that targets ANY community, particularly those that have historically been and continue to be disenfranchised across our state and nation, is unacceptable. Advancing Justice | Chicago believes that voting should be accessible to ALL voters, including Asian Americans, immigrants, and limited-English speakers.
Recently, allegations have arisen out of the Chinatown neighborhood that point to possible vote buying and ballot theft targeting limited-English proficient Chinese American seniors. If true, this would be an offensive exploitation of those who are often the most vulnerable members of our communities. This behavior is illegal and extremely harmful to our democracy. Any alleged attempts by any candidates to exploit and deprive immigrant voters of their rights is deeply concerning to Advancing Justice | Chicago, and we call on the Chicago Board of Elections to investigate these allegations.
For over 10 years, Advancing Justice | Chicago has worked to protect the voting rights of Asian American and immigrant voters in Chicago, including the Chinatown area. In recent years, we have administered the largest non-partisan, non-candidate poll monitoring operation in Illinois in order to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and protect community members’ right to vote.
To ensure an accessible election on February 26, we urge our community members to sign up to be poll monitors with Advancing Justice | Chicago. Poll monitors will be trained in what to look out for at polling places and have a critical role to play in ensuring a fair election. There will be a training session on Monday, February 25, and we will have poll monitors stationed at polling places in Chinatown on Election Day.
The Asian American community of Chicago is diverse and has contributed to all parts of the city in many ways, but this week Mayor Rahm Emanuel fell back on old, harmful stereotypes about our community. Yesterday at an event here in Chicago, Mayor Emanuel asked an Asian American student who had just introduced him on stage “You’re quiet, right? You do a lot of studying?” after first making an offhand comment asking whether they were up for adoption.
Look, there are a lot of layers here, including that Asian Americans and Asian American students are pigeonholed by regressive stereotypes like the “model minority” myth, which masks the everyday struggles of Asian Americans that exist at the margins, including refugee families, undocumented and mixed-status families, and low-income communities. Mayor Emanuel used a racist trope that divides Asian Americans from other communities of color, when in fact Asian Americans have a shared stake in racial, economic and environmental justice policies that would benefit communities of color citywide.
Now, we have an election on February 26 and the Mayor is on his way out of office. How can Mayor Emanuel support Asian American communities between now and when he leaves City Hall? Well, he could start by postponing any votes and committee meetings for the new police academy and Lincoln Yards development, because these developments will hurt neighborhoods across the city, including ones where Asian Americans live. Then he can read UIC’s IRRPP report on racial justice for Asian Americans in Chicago.
Our community will not be used as a wedge between communities of color that we live and work with every day, and we’re tired of being treated in a way that reduces us to a stereotype. We’ll be expecting better from our next mayor.
Value Our Families Denounces Trump’s National Emergency Declaration
Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Value Our Families following President Trump’s national emergency declaration:
“Trump’s remarks and action declaring a national emergency is an astounding display of xenophobia and racism. It is a reckless stunt to rile up his base and endanger our democracy and countless communities along the border.
“There is no national security emergency at the border, and yet Trump is fear-mongering to justify wasting billions of dollars on an immoral border wall. The real crisis is Trump’s self-made humanitarian crisis that separated and jailed thousands of immigrant families.
“Trump continues to spew anti-immigrant rhetoric while systematically attacking our nation’s immigration system. Today, he used the term “chain migration,” a deeply offensive and dehumanizing word used to inaccurately describe our family-based immigration system. Family-based immigration, family reunification, and the diversity visa program are crucial parts of our immigration system.
“We cannot allow our nation’s immigration policies to be hijacked by false nations of security and nationalism. We urge Congress to protect our border and immigrant communities and to end this so-called “national emergency.””
Value Our Families protects, preserves, and strengthens the family immigration system and promotes an immigration system that is informed by love, empathy, and justice.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Opposes the President’s Illegal Vanity Wall
February 15, 2019—Washington, D.C.—Today, President Trump declared a national emergency to build additional miles of destructive border wall, following Congress’ passage of a bill that allocates an additional $1.375 billion in wall funding.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, responds with the following statement:
“President Trump’s shameful declaration is a clear-cut abuse of presidential power and a threat to our democracy. The President manufactured a crisis at the border to drum up support for his failed and unpopular campaign promise.
“The President is only trying to circumvent the Constitution. After Congress refused to give him all the money that he asked for, the President is now trying to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars into an anti-immigrant, xenophobic border wall project that a majority of Americans continue to oppose.
“Asian Americans Advancing Justice is in solidarity with communities at the border who live under oppressive conditions, facing separation and danger every day. That is why we urge Congress to stand firm for our immigrant communities by revoking Trump’s illegal emergency declaration.”
Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice | AAJC, 202-296-2300 x0144, email@example.com
Christina So, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, 415-848-7728, firstname.lastname@example.org
James Woo, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, 404-585-8446, email@example.com
Brandon Lee, Advancing Justice – Chicago, 773-271-0899 x200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Jinn, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, 213-241-8817, email@example.com