It took Chicagoans 174 years to elect the first Asian-American to city council, and nearly two centuries for Illinois voters to send the first members of their community to Congress.
Today, at least nine Asian Americans hold elected office statewide. Her two of them represent the state capital of Illinois. And voters will have a chance to dramatically increase previously slow numbers in this year’s and next’s elections.
At least 22 Asian-American candidates are running in November’s election and next year’s city election, not to mention others running in other local elections across the state.
This is part of a national trend already unfolding in Virginia, Michigan and Indiana, in which Asian Americans are among the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States becoming the fastest growing voters. It reflects a 2020 Pew Research Center finding that it is a growing segment.
Josina Morita, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and member of the Illinois Asian American Caucus, who has provided support and encouragement to candidates, said:
“And I think people were waiting for permission and waiting for it to be possible. rice field.”
“I think it really helped break down what we call the bamboo ceiling and open the floodgates for people we’ve never met before,” Morita said.
Morita, the first Asian-American elected to Cook County’s countywide office in 2016, is running for Cook County Commissioner for the 13th District.
Aldo. Nicole Lee, who was named Mayor of Lightfoot this year as the first Chinese American to represent Chinatown’s 11th Ward, has also announced that she will seek re-election next year.
Lee is the second Asian-American city councilor in Chicago since the city was incorporated in 1837, following Indian-American Ameya Pawal, who was elected in 2011 but was limited to two terms. became a member of the council.
Lee said many residents have told her they used to have a hard time walking into the Near South Side alderman’s office.
“I have heard many times from contractors and developers in Asia asking about what they would like to do in the community, but when they came to this office in the past, they didn’t necessarily feel it. It gave me this office as it has been there for them in the past, right or wrong or indifferent,” Lee said.
“This has been the way it’s been in the past. I think people see my appointment as an opportunity to put our community on a more even footing with everyone else.”
A Pew survey found 380,000 eligible Asian-American voters in Illinois in 2020. That’s his 4% of all voters in the state. Asian Americans make up 6.1% of her state’s population, while Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders make up 0.1% of her, according to U.S. Census figures.
Morita said the pandemic, both an increase in hate crimes against Asians and a lack of COVID-19 resources and information for Asian Americans, played a role in the candidate’s rise.
“I think it was a truly transformative experience for all of us, including those who were already in the office,” Morita said.
She said a 60-year-old Vietnamese man beaten in 2021 — what his family called a hate crime — was a Vietnamese man who had just won a contested Democratic primary in the northern Illinois House district. , said it was personal to Hoang Finn.
If he wins District 13, which covers parts of Albany Park, Edgewater, Lakeview, North Center, North Park, Rogers Park, Uptown and parts of the Westridge district in November, Huynh will become the first Vietnamese to serve in the Illinois legislature. will become a member of parliament.
Nabeelah Said, who is challenging Republican Rep. Chris Voss in the northern suburbs, would become the first Muslim woman elected to the Illinois legislature if she wins.
In 2020, Boss is by just 1.8 percent in District 51, which includes Palatine, Inverness, Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Killdeer, Deer Park, Long Grove, Vernon Hills, Lake Zurich and parts of Hawthorn Forest. I won.
Said, 23, who was born and raised in Palatine, said he heard “blatant anti-Asian rhetoric” during the pandemic, including what some called the “Chinese virus” and the “Asian virus.”
In part, it pushed her to run and become a voice for the Asian-American community. He said he was concerned about her safety, but was “supportive and excited.”
“They were worried about my safety, but they didn’t want to deter me,” Said said. “They don’t want to discourage people from looking for representation, supporting candidates who bring more representation to the decision-making table.”
She also relies on Morita and other Asian-American candidates from Illinois, who have created a network to answer questions and give advice.
“Knowing that I have such a community of people who have gone through similar experiences as an Asian-American candidate has been a huge source of support and encouragement to me.” It’s unbelievable what I’ve been able to do.”
Lee was appointed to the Chicago City Council in March to replace former 11th Ward Aldo. Patrick Daley Thompson was convicted by a federal jury of lying to regulators and filing false income tax returns. Lee was a United Airlines executive, and his father served as Deputy Chief of Staff under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daly, the longest-serving Chicago mayor, and Thompson’s uncle.
A “fourth generation of the Lee family,” living in a Chinatown building bought by his grandparents, Li and his two sons got information from Kazokukai, a Chinese club with members of the same name. said there is. The number of office visits from Asian Americans on her ward she says she is “proud” to be there.
Lee was proud to meet Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Raja Krishnamooti at the Illinois Democratic County Speakers’ Association brunch in Springfield last month.
Duckworth became the first Asian-American elected to a seat in the Illinois legislature in 2012. Duckworth was born in Thailand. Her mother is the daughter of Chinese immigrants to Thailand and her father is from Virginia.
Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, and Krishnamoorty was elected to a former U.S. House of Representatives seat.
Morita, Sayid and Lee pose for a photo with a group that filled two tables at an event in Springfield last month.
“Sometimes you have to make sure that something is possible to feel like you can do it,” Lee said.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/elections/2022/9/13/23340276/asian-american-candidates-elections-bamboo-ceiling-duckworth-krishnamoorthi-lee-morita-syed-november Asian-American candidate aims to break records in state and Chicago elections