Chicago to get its first-ever Asian American ward if map proposal is approved

Chicago to get its first-ever Asian American ward if map proposal is approved
Chicago Chinatown
Jiselle Lee
December 1, 2021
If all goes according to plan, Chicago City Council members will introduce the first Asian-majority ward to the city on Dec. 1.
Discourse over minority redistricting: Chicago’s Black Caucus and Latino Caucus do not agree on the boundaries of the new redistricting maps but have agreed on the necessity of creating the first Asian-majority ward in Chicago.
  • According to ABC7 Chicago, the Black caucus and the Latino Caucus currently disagree on the amount of majority wards each group has. The two groups, however, along with the People’s Map group, have all included an Asian American majority ward in their proposed maps.
  • Asian Americans in Chicago have been pushing for their first majority ward for decades.
  • “This time, this year, it must happen,” CEO of the Chinese American Service League Paul Luu told ABC7 Chicago.
Proposed maps: The first Asian American majority ward is expected to be centered around Chinatown.
  • The demographic breakdown of the proposed new ward would be 51% Asian, 24% Latino, 20% white and 3% Black, according to the Chicago Tribune.
  • The 11th and 25th ward, which includes Bridgeport and parts of McKinley Park, currently share Chinatown. Nearly 24% of McKinley Park’s population are Asian.
  • The two central Chicago neighborhoods would be combined under a proposal by Asian community groups. This would create a triangular area with the Chicago River as the northern border and an irregular southern border that stretches from West Pershing Road to the Dan Ryan Expressway.
  • Advocates are also putting in effort to group West Ridge and Albany Park — with their mainly Indian American and broadly Asian American populations, respectively — together instead of being kept split into multiple wards. 
  • “The redistricting process, as you may know is very chaotic at the moment. We’re worried that if certain groups are not able to agree, and in that disagreement measurement Asian American Majority ward might get lost,” redistricting counsel for Asian Americans Advancing Justice Justin Sia told ABC7 Chicago.
  • The City Council is in the process of passing a new map, which will require at least 41 aldermen to agree on a single version.
Asians push for representation: About 150 of Chicago’s Asian residents rallied in Chinatown Square on Saturday to call for an Asian-majority ward to be included in the City Council’s new maps, according to the Chicago Tribune.
  • One of the protesters, 63-year-old Bridgeport resident Amy Mui, expressed concerns over recent crime in the neighborhood and reports of anti-Asian attacks throughout the U.S.
  • “You feel unsafe here and then you feel nobody care about the Chinese society, and then we want to say something,” Mui told Chicago Tribune. “We need somebody to represent us.”
  • Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Chinese American Service League, Pui Tak Center and Midwest Asian Health Association organized the rally to push for better representation within the City Council.
  • Supporters say an Asian American majority ward is long overdue, especially after the 2020 Census found that Asians were the fastest growing population in Chicago, making up 7% of the overall city’s population. Asians also now make up the largest racial group in Bridgeport, according to a 2021 analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Featured Image via Luis Gusto
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