SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) — The look of Illinois has changed since the last census, and so will legislative maps.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, a coalition of ethnic groups is reminding lawmakers to give them a fair chance at representation. Arab-Americans are one such group.

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LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

“We have grown a great deal, especially in the southwest suburbs of Chicago,” Ahlam Jbara, associate director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. “We have worked with leaders in this area to define ourselves as a community of interest. That includes our shared ethnicity, but also our shared faith backgrounds that include Muslims and Christians, and our shared experiences with discrimination, pre- and post-9/11.”

There have been meetings statewide for testimony, but the actual mapmaking has been conducted in private.

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Bryan Echols, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization, said he hopes it is easier to elect nonwhites to the Illinois General Assembly and Congress.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

“Because there has been movement in the City of Chicago, we wanted to make sure that our districts remained strong. We also did some maps that were racially unified and equitable, and we wanted to see shared power between our communities,” he said.

Echols’ South Side-based organization is part of the group lobbying the state Capitol advocating keeping certain blocs together in the every-10-years remap.

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The splintering of such groups, they argue, has resulted in underrepresentation.