CHICAGO (WBBM) — As the City Council prepares to redraw its ward boundaries according to the latest census numbers, Asian-American residents want to make sure their voices are not lost in the process.
As WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, advocates for Asian-American residents of Chicago are working hard to make sure their community is heard during the redrawing of Ward boundaries across the City.READ MORE: Detectives Following 'Promising Leads' In Shooting Death Of 8-Year-Old Melissa Ortega, Mayor Says
Most of the headlines about the ward remap process have been about African-American and Latino Aldermen jockeying for their parts of the political pie. And Kathleen Jung Hee Fernicola, policy director of the Asian American Institute, understands that.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
“Because of our numbers in the past and the way we’re distributed in the city, it is extremely difficult for us to make the case that we should have a 50 plus one majority in one particular ward,” she said.READ MORE: Sources: Illinois State Police Member, Woman Found Shot Dead In Car On Southeast Side
Historically, Asians in Chicago have had low numbers and were fragmented throughout the City – Chinatown notwithstanding. But the latest Census numbers signal a new day.
“The results have been that we were the fastest growing minority in the city and that we’ve grown by over 25,000 people,” Fernicola said. “We’re really starting to figure out what our policy platform, our politics ultimately should look like.”
Fernicola said she doesn’t want to see their communities split in the remap so that they can have cohesive representation of their interests.
“We have neighborhoods that should not be split,” she said. “We have concerns that may be particular. Insofar as language access is concerned … in the Pan-Asian community, we have over 20 languages.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Bitter Cold Temps This Week
In fact, Chicago now has its first Asian-American Alderman — Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward – and Asian groups have joined a coalition with blacks, Hispanics and others to ensure that all voices are represented in this remap process, not just the political ones.