Chinatown deserves a Chicago ward of its own

For too long, our community’s concerns have been addressed by city officials who do not look or speak like our community.

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The Chinatown Gateway at South Wentworth Avenue and West Cermak Road.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Asian Americans have contributed to the life and economy of Chicago since we first arrived in this city in the 1870s. Yet we have never had a meaningful voice in city government.

When the Chicago City Council redraws the lines for aldermanic wards, one component should be included in any map — an Asian-American-majority seat containing Chinatown. This would be a start toward representation. For too long, our community’s concerns and needs have been addressed by city officials who do not look like or speak like our community.

As a longtime resident of Chinatown (1965 to 2017), I am concern that we don’t have an Asian representative who would understand and feel the pulse of the community.

Rich Lo, Naperville

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Benet Academy and dignity

“Benet Academy respects the dignity of all human beings to follow their conscience and to live lives of their choosing.”

So says Benet Academy spokesperson Jamie Moss.

But when a top-rated lacrosse coach, with two state titles on her resume, listed her wife as her emergency contact, Benet Academy promptly withdrew a job offer to coach girls lacrosse at the school. For Benet Academy, apparently, the dignity of all human beings to follow their conscience ends at the bedroom door.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

No subsidy to keep Bears

I do hope Mayor Lori Lightfoot can keep the Bears at Soldier Field. But I’d rather see the Bears move to the suburbs than have the city give that $4 billion team a cent in subsidy. 

Benjamin Recchie, Little Italy

Don’t close door to Haitian refugees

When considering the humanitarian crisis facing more than 10,000 refugees — most of them Haitian — at the U.S. border, we, as a nation, need to ask ourselves whether what we are doing is right and equitable.

These people are being returned to a country that just faced a devastating earthquake and the assassination of its president. Many of them, if not all, unquestionably do not have safe homes to return to. Yet our federal government is sending them back, often without even an opportunity to apply for asylum.

I know the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging. And while I don’t think anyone would argue against the need for comprehensive immigration reform, I know Americans disagree about what that should look like. These two truly challenging situations, however, do not relieve us of our duty to care for our fellow human beings.

Our nation has a long history with Haiti, especially here in Chicago. Haiti supported the American Revolution. Haiti fought back against their French colonizers and became the first Black nation in the West. Chicago was founded by a Black Haitian settler, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable.

The United States has opened its doors to refugees from Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Why are we closing the door to Haitian refugees?

The world is a more dangerous place than usual right now. But isn’t that all the more reason to show extra compassion? To consider equity even more highly when making our decisions?

I urge the federal government to reconsider this decision and to do more for Haitian asylum-seekers. We owe it to them, and we owe it to our humanity.

State Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins, (D-Chicago)

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