The 2018 midterm elections marked a historic moment for the South Asian community in Illinois as Ram Villivalam (D) became the first South Asian American to be elected to the Illinois General Assembly. He will be representing Illinois State Senate District 8 which includes Devon Avenue, the West Ridge community, northwest Chicago and the surrounding suburbs of Lincolnwood, Niles, Morton Grove, Skokie, and Glenview. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was also re-elected on Tuesday for the Illinois 8th Congressional District. These are significant victories for us!
SAAPRI has been out in the community engaging South Asians about civic engagement and the importance of voting in the midterm elections. SAAPRI registered voters at community events, mosques, temples, and churches; organized civic engagement workshops with college students about the intersections of identity, politics, and voting; and did phonebanking to South Asian voters in the Chicago area. Historically, the South Asian community has had lower voter registration and received less voter outreach than other groups. It is important for South Asians to become more involved in the political process in order for our voices to be heard and to push back on anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacks. We must pay attention to the upcoming municipal elections.
The Illinois municipal elections are fast approaching on February 26, 2019. This includes races in cities and townships across Illinois. South Asians make up over 10% in 13 Illinois cities and villages and over 10% in 5 Illinois townships*. We can make a difference in our community be staying engaged and keeping the momentum for these local elections as well. There are many South Asian American candidates running in these elections. SAAPRI will continue to promote local civic engagement among the South Asian community and remain a partner in advocating for our community. Stay tuned!
*Cities & Villages: South Barrington (25.96%), Lincolnwood (22.89%), Old Mill Creek (17.22%), Oak Brook (16.44%), Glendale Heights (15.69%), Hoffman Estates (15.54%), Morton Grove (14.84%), Schaumburg (13.77%), Indian Creek (13.54%), Burr Ridge (12.70%), Naperville (11.08%), Skokie (10.93%), and Hanover Park (10.86%) (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate)
Townships: Schaumburg (12.87%), Naperville (11.81%), Wheatland (11.47%), Niles (11.19%), and Barrington (10.55%) (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate)