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

For Immediate Release


Grace Pai, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago


Justin Sia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago


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.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Celebrates 30th Anniversary

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2022 

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

CHICAGO, IL — May 2, 2022 — This year, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago is celebrating 30 years of building a powerful Asian American voice for racial equity by  

  • Advocating for policies that promote racial, economic, and immigrant justice;  
  • Increasing civic participation through political education, community organizing, and advocacy; 
  • Changing media narratives to build a more nuanced and accurate understanding of Asian American communities; and 
  • Working in partnership with values-aligned organizations to build cross-racial solidarity.  

Founded in 1992, Asian American Institute re-branded as Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago in 2013.  

On Thursday, May 5, Advancing Justice | Chicago will bring together over 200 people from all corners of the Asian and  non-Asian American community in recognizing the accomplishments and impact the organization has made the past 30 years. The celebration and program will take place at Morgan’s on Fulton in the Fulton Market district. Here’s to #30YearsofJustice! 

Where: Morgan’s on Fulton: 950 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607  

When: Thursday, May 5, 2022 from 6PM-10PM 

What: A celebration of Advancing Justice | Chicago’s 30 years of building a powerful Asian American voice since 1992. Looking ahead, Advancing Justice | Chicago is leading the progressive, pan-Asian response to pressing current events and advocating for proactive and visionary solutions to achieve racial equity. 

Dress Code: Cocktail Attire 


Honorees include: 

  • Miwa Shimokogawa (Community Award) 
  • Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Ram Villivalam (Champion Award) 
  • Michael Chu (Milestone Award)  

Enjoy an evening of cocktails, food, fun, and fundraising complete with a full program celebrating our achievements and the Asian American community. Guests will participate in a Paddle Raise and Live/Silent Auction with 70 exciting items from local businesses, restaurants, and experiences. Entertainment will be provided by Pan-Asian talent, including MOD Group, a Desi-Fusion dance crew based in Chicago, IL; Dr. Srimix, a DJ from San Diego who’s best known for his remixes and mashups that blend popular American music with songs from all over South Asia; and Dholi Dhruv of HollyBolly Unlimited, a percussionist advanced in playing not only the dhol, but the tabla as well.  

Special thanks to our Champion Sponsors McDermott Will & Emery and Tyson for their critical support, in addition to our Partner and Support Sponsors. Please visit here for our full list of sponsors. 


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

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JOB POSTING: Policy/Political Director

Policy/Political Director Job Description


Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago and Asian American Midwest Progressives build 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 training, 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, 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 and Asian American Midwest Progressives (AAMP) are prioritizing the Midwest region and collaborating with partners in Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan to tackle common struggles and build power.

AAMP was founded in 2018 to focus on electoral organizing, mobilizing Asian American voters, and holding elected officials accountable through issue-based campaigns. AAMP is a 501(c)(4) organization that shares staff and office space with Advancing Justice | Chicago, which is a 501(c)(3).


This dual role is an exciting opportunity for a strategic relationship-builder to serve as the Policy Director for Advancing Justice | Chicago and the Political Director for AAMP. The Policy/Political Director will be the primary lobbyist for both organizations and will co-create campaign strategy with the Director of Organizing. In addition, the Policy/Political Director will conduct policy research to support the organizing team, lead political education efforts with our grassroots base, and create external communications and talking points for our issue campaigns. As a member of the leadership team, the Policy/Political Director will also be responsible for guiding organization-wide decisions, maintaining healthy organizational culture, and managing personnel. 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 may be spent on 501(c)(4) activities including partisan political work.


  • Build relationships and advocate with decision-makers, elected officials, and political candidates at the city, state, and county levels to advance policy and advocacy efforts;
  • Conduct policy research and analysis on priority issues, including immigration, language access, voting rights/democracy, education equity, and criminal justice;
  • Draft talking points and external communications for issues campaigns, including press releases;
  • Inform strategy for our issue-based campaigns and collaborate closely with the Director of Organizing;
  • Educate our staff, grassroots leaders, and others on policy issues;
  • Support the Pan Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition’s agenda;
  • Lead Advancing Justice | Chicago’s democracy and voting rights work, including a poll monitoring program, and supervise our Voting Rights Legal Fellow;
  • Represent Advancing Justice | Chicago and AAMP in external coalitions, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Just Democracy Illinois, and the Illinois Alignment Table;
  • Partner with our national Advancing Justice affiliates on immigration and voting rights;
  • Provide media interviews on key issues and current events, 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 and AAMP Boards of Directors;
  • Consistently engage and collaborate with the other Advancing Justice affiliates on national campaigns or joint projects, such as the Advancing Justice Conference;
  • Other duties as assigned.

(और ज्यादा…)

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Advancing Justice Affiliation Redistributes Funds to Partner Organizations

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2022 

As a leading network of independently-run Asian American Pacific Islander civil and legal rights nonprofits, we find ourselves in a unique position to support our community partners. In 2021, amid a national reckoning with anti-Asian racism and violence and a deeper understanding of the systemic solutions we need to live safely, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation was fortunate to receive an influx of one-time donations from individuals, companies, and foundations. These supporters shared their desire to contribute to efforts that empower Asian American communities and address anti-Asian hate and violence. For many supporters, these contributions marked the first time they had intentionally given to Asian and Asian American organizations and communities. 

We are deeply appreciative of this support. We also know that our work to build a more just world is made possible through partnerships, including with community-based organizations and coalitions across the country. Most of these organizations have not received the same amount of support from donors. 

As some of the largest organizations led by and serving Asian American communities in the country, we often apply for funding together with coalition and movement partners and encourage donors to also support their work directly. In that spirit of collaboration, the Advancing Justice affiliation is redistributing $3 million to 68 organizations spanning 15 states, as well as $600,000 to the Emergency Victims and Survivors Fund in Georgia. These organizations serve a wide range of communities and focus on many different issue areas, including racial justice, community safety, gender-based violence response, economic security, immigrant rights, and voting rights, among others. Together, they represent many of the affiliation’s closest community-based and coalition partners. 

While the Advancing Justice affiliation is not a funder nor does it seek to become one, we believe this is the right decision for our organizations and our partners in this moment. We also know that these funds are nowhere near enough to match the scale of the challenges we are facing and that as much as we intended to support as many organizations as possible, we did not reach everyone. According to Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, only 0.2% of grants nationwide in 2018 were designated for AAPI communities. We hope this funding decision encourages our donors and others to learn more about the organizations listed below, support their crucial work, and ask questions about the groups and places that need more support. 

If you have questions about this affiliation update, please reach out to us. 

In solidarity,

Aarti Kohli, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Connie Chung Joe, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

Grace Pai, Advancing Justice – Chicago

Phi Nguyen, Advancing Justice – Atlanta

John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC

Organizations Receiving Redistributed Funds (in alphabetical order)

Abolitionist Teachers Network (GA)


API Equality – LA (CA)

API Equality – Northern California (CA)

Apna Ghar, Inc. (IL) 

Asian Americans United (PA)

Asian Youth Center (CA)

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (CA)

Asian Prisoner Support Committee (CA)

Asian Solidarity Collective (CA)

Asian Texans for Justice (TX) 

Athena’s Warehouse (GA) 


Boat People BPSOS – Houston (TX)

CAIR-Chicago (IL)

CAIR-Georgia (GA)

CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area (CA) 

Center for Asian Americans in Action (CA)

Center for Empowering Immigrants and Refugees (CA)    

Chinatown Service Center (CA)

Chinese Community Center (TX)

Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC) (IL) 

Demo Lab South (GA)

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) (CA)

Emergency Victims and Survivors Fund (GA)

Freedom Inc. (WI) 

Fresno Center (CA)

Georgia Muslim Voter Project (GA)

Georgia Youth Justice Coalition (GA) 

Hamilton- Madison House (NY)

HANA Center (IL) 

Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) (CA)

Indo-American Center (IL)

InterFaith Movement (CA)

Jakara Movement (CA)


Khmer Girls in Action (CA)         

Korean American Coalition (CA)

Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) (NY)

Korean Community Services (CA)

Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (CA)

Little Tokyo Service Center (CA)

MN8 (MN)

Montgomery County Progressive Asian American Network (MoCoPAAN) (MD)

Narika (CA)

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJ)

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NC) 

OCA-Houston (TX)

OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership (OH)

Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) (CA)

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) (CA)

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PA)

Pilipino Workers Center (CA)

Raksha (GA) 

Refugee and Immigrant Transitions (CA)

Rhode Island Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) (RI)

Rising Voices (MI)

SEAC Village (NC) 

Sikh Coalition

South Asian Network (CA)  

Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) 

Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC) (PA)

Southland Integrated Services (CA)       

Thai Community Development Center (CA)

The Devi Co-op (GA) 

VietLead (PA)

Vietnamese Association of Illinois (IL)

Womankind (NY)

Woori Juntos (TX)

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago Applauds Appointment of First Asian American Woman to City Council

For Immediate Release

March 24, 2022 

Kevin Hsia, Advancing Justice Chicago,
Grace Pai, 224-289-5291,

On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her appointment of Nicole Lee to fill the 11th ward aldermanic vacancy. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, the leading pan-Asian advocacy organization in Chicago, issued the following statement. Our Executive Director Grace Pai can be available for further comment.

“We are excited that Mayor Lightfoot has appointed an Asian American woman to this seat. This is a historic appointment – Nicole Lee will be the first Chinese American and first Asian American woman to serve on Chicago City Council. We look forward to working with Nicole on issues that are important to the Asian American community, like language access, affordable housing & public safety.”

Nicole Lee speaking on ABC7 livestream of Mayor Lightfoot's press conference announcing the appointment on March 24, 2022


Photo Credit: Screenshot of ABC7 livestream of Mayor Lightfoot’s press conference announcing the appointment on March 24, 2022

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at

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