SAAPRI’s Civic Engagement Initiative
South Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in Illinois and across the nation. However, the community’s influence on elections has not increased at the same rate as its population. South Asian Americans represent about 36% of Illinois’ Asian American population and 2% of the overall state population, with high concentrations in particular districts and regions. Over the last 16 years, Illinois’ South Asian population has grown by over 55%, but this growth has not been represented in the civic engagement process.
Throughout the nation, South Asian Americans are among the least represented in our democracy. The community has low voter registration and lower turnout rates than other ethnic groups. It is imperative that South Asian Americans increase their civic engagement in order to voice their views on specific issues and policies that will impact them.
South Asian Americans have the potential to speak collectively and effectively on issues that matter to our community. We have to leverage our collective power to realize our potential for transforming both our own communities as well as society at large.
SAAPRI’s Leadership Forum
On May 19th, 2016, SAAPRI convened a Leadership Forum attended by South Asian-facing organizations, community leaders, and business persons to examine civic participation among the South Asian American community.
The Leadership Forum and other initiatives like it are powerful ways to leverage the potential of South Asian Americans to improve our civic engagment and make our views heard about political issues that affect both our communities and the larger society we live in.
Thank you to all those who attended our event!
- Read the Full Report of the “Roadmap to Civic to South Asian Americans in Illinois” here