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Asian Americans deserve a majority ward and a voice on Chicago’s City Council

Chinatown leaders have been working since the early 1990s to avoid consistently being cut up among three wards. A majority-Asian ward should be centered in the Chinatown area.

The Chinatown Gateway at South Wentworth Avenue and West Cermak Road in Chinatown.
Chinatown should be the focus of a new Asian-majority ward, a Sun-Times reader writes.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The 2020 Census shows that Asian Americans are a fast-growing population in Chicago. We are now almost 7% of the city’s population. Amid the squabbling between the Latino Caucus and the Black Caucus over how many majority wards each community should have because of shifting populations in their communities, Asian Americans should not be once again relegated to a zero-majority ward.

Since the Asian community has no representation on the City Council, and no voice in redistricting, we are being told that a new ward with 49% Asian Americans is good enough. Asian Americans have long been disenfranchised. Chinatown leaders have been working since the early 1990s to avoid consistently being cut up among three wards. Currently, the community is split between two wards, with one white alderman and one Latino alderman.

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The established legal standards, as well as the very considerations guiding Black and Latino aldermen for their communities, more than justify a 51% majority-Asian ward centered on Chinatown. Chinese and Asian Americans have lived in Chicago since the 1870s and deserve to be considered under the same rules as everyone else.

For fairness, equity and inclusion, it is time that City Council supports a majority-Asian ward in the greater Chinatown area.

Nancy Chen, Naperville

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