News

09.08.2023

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.”

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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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08.16.2023

NOW HIRING! Community Organizer

BACKGROUND AND MISSION
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.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

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.

Qualifications:

  • 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.

COMPENSATION

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.

INQUIRY AND APPLICATION PROCESS

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

www.AdvancingJustice-Chicago.org

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07.28.2023

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. 

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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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07.10.2023

Chicago Racial Justice Organizations Strongly Support Mayor Johnson’s Appointments to Board of Education

For Immediate Release: July 10, 2023
Contact: Ankur Singh | asingh@advancingjustice-chicago.org
Grace Pai | gpai@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Chicago Racial Justice Organizations Strongly Support Mayor Johnson’s Appointments to Board of Education


CHICAGO
— We, the undersigned organizations, strongly support and congratulate Mayor Brandon Johnson’s
recently announced appointees to the Chicago Board of Education: Mariela Estrada, Mary Fahey Hughes, Rudy Lozano Jr, Michelle Morales, Jianan Shi, Dr. Elizabeth Todd-Breland, and Tanya D. Woods. These appointees bring a diverse range of expertise, identities, professional and life experiences, and community ties that will help them represent and make decisions on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students and families.

As organizations that work on education equity issues, youth organizing, and racial justice campaigns, we are thrilled that Mayor Johnson has selected a well-rounded group of individuals who each bring critical perspectives to their roles.

The appointees include experts in special education, juvenile justice/systems-involved youth, early childhood education, student-centered learning, bilingual education, alternative education, and restorative and transformational justice. All seven have served on a Local School Council. The vast majority have deep ties to community-based organizations, youth and/or parent engagement, and grassroots organizing. Six of the seven appointees are current or former Chicago Public Schools parents. Four are former K-12 educators in Chicago. Two are immigrants and four were raised in multilingual families. In addition, Dr. Elizabeth Todd-Breland is a sitting member of the Chicago Board of Education who will continue in her role and bring institutional knowledge and continuity to the new board.

This thoughtful group of leaders represents the diversity of our great city, but we know that equity isn’t satisfied simply by representation. It is their thoughtfulness around community leadership, their openness to new ideas, and their accountability to the communities historically ignored in Chicago policymaking that makes us most proud to call this group our new Chicago Board of Education.

We look forward to working with this Board to center the voices of the 89% of students who are BIPOC, and 78% who are low-income. Until we have a fully elected school board in 2027, we know these appointed leaders will play a critical role in advancing equity across our schools. We look forward to partnering with them on that mission.

Signed,

Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment
Asian American Midwest Progressives
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Cambodian Association of Illinois
Casa Michoacan – FEDECMI
Chicago Housing Initiative
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Chinese American Service League
Chinese Mutual Aid Association
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community
Cook County College Teachers Union – Local 1600
Crossroads Fund
Field Foundation of Illinois
Grassroots Collaborative
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Indo-American Center
Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy
Japanese American Citizens League Chicago
Japanese American Service Committee
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA)
Midwest Asian Health Association
Northside Action for Justice
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Greater Chicago Chapter
Palenque LSNA
People Matter
Ping Tom Park Advisory Council
Project: VISION, Inc.
South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI)
United African Organization
United Working Families
Urban Village Church, Wicker Park
Woods Fund Board of Directors

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06.29.2023

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces  Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Media Contact: 

Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice – AAJC, mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org 
Niketa Kumar, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, media@advancingjustice-alc.org
Liana Liang, AJSOCAL, lliang@ajsocal.org
James Woo, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org
Grace Pai, Advancing Justice | Chicago, gpai@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action

Washington, D.C. – June 29, 2023 – In response to the Supreme Court’s decision today in SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC striking down the race-conscious admissions policies at both schools, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) denounced the decision as an attack on civil rights and called for an increased commitment from universities and policymakers to ensure equitable opportunities for all students and diversity in higher education. 

Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations across the nation, has long advocated for race-conscious admissions policies as an essential tool to provide equal opportunities for students of color, including Asian Americans. 

In its decision, the Supreme Court’s hyper-partisan majority struck a deep blow to students and racial equity in education by holding that Harvard and UNC’s affirmative action programs violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling does not address race-conscious policies in any other contexts, such as in K-12 education, in the workplace, in government contracts, in philanthropic giving, or elsewhere. 

“We are outraged that the Supreme Court has chosen to ignore long-standing legal precedent in favor of supporting racial inequity that harms all people of color, including Asian Americans,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice – AAJC. “But we are more committed than ever to ensuring equal opportunity for our children – and for all children in this country. We will not let this court decision keep us from pushing colleges and universities, Congress, and others to keep today’s ruling from undermining the progress made toward educating future multiracial, talented leaders who deserve every opportunity to reach their highest potential on campuses that reflect the diversity of America.”

“In today’s ruling, the Supreme Court’s majority ignores our long history and present reality of systematically denying people of color, particularly Black Americans, equal access to education,” said Aarti Kohli, Executive Director of Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “Racism and anti-Blackness are inescapable in our country, and race-conscious admissions are a crucial tool in expanding opportunities for students of color that reckons with those realities. For Asian Americans, this ruling will particularly harm Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, and Southeast Asian communities who continue to face significant barriers to higher education. At a moment when our country is increasingly segregated and there are significant gaps in resources for majority minority schools, we call on Congress, our local elected leaders, and universities to do everything in their power to implement solutions we really need for economic equity and racial justice in our nation.”

“For Asian American students and all others, racially diverse student bodies both enhance their learning and foster understanding of each student’s lived experience,” said Connie Chung Joe, CEO of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California. “In our ever-changing global economy and platform, we must continue to give all students the opportunity to fulfill their potential and shape a future built strong on our biggest asset – our diversity.” 

“We unequivocally condemn the ruling by the Supreme Court to reverse these affirmative action policies, thus ensuring that systemic racism continues to be embedded in higher education,” said Grace Pai, Executive Director of Advancing Justice – Chicago. “As Asian Americans, we will not allow our communities to be used as a prop by the conservative movement to advance a white supremacist agenda.”

“Declaring these race conscious policies unconstitutional is a barely disguised tool to once again remove students of color from our nation’s campuses and perpetuate the historical legacy of institutionalized racism in education that continues, especially in the south,” said Phi Nguyen, Executive Director of Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “We will continue to fight for racial justice and ensure that everyone has access to a quality education.»

Last August, Advancing Justice filed two amicus briefs in SFFA v. Harvard — one of which was joined by 37 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) civil rights groups, advocacy organizations, professionals, and student organizations — demonstrating how AAPI communities both benefit from and support affirmative action, and detailing how the elimination of race consideration in admissions programs will harm Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and other students of color. 

Although the ruling impacts race-conscious admissions in higher education, colleges and universities have a responsibility to promote and embrace diversity, including cultivating affinity groups, increasing meaningful outreach to communities of color, expanding financial assistance, and dismantling legacy admissions programs. Advancing Justice calls for them to urgently prioritize these actions. It also calls for policymakers and other leaders to use this moment to set a comprehensive agenda for achieving equity in education long before students apply to college, including expanding access in K-12 schools, which are more segregated today than they were 50 years ago. 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, DC), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago.

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