WBEZ | minorities http://www.wbez.org/tags/minorities Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Asian-Americans hope new Chicago caucus will restore clout http://www.wbez.org/news/asian-americans-hope-new-chicago-caucus-will-restore-clout-107912 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Asian-American caucus.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week&rsquo;s announcement that Chicago&rsquo;s City Council would create its first Asian-American Caucus is eliciting both praise and puzzlement from some observers skeptical of its influence.</p><p>The driving force behind the new 14-member caucus is the city&rsquo;s first Asian-American council member, Ameya Pawar (47th), who says the need for a more unified voice became apparent in conversations with constituents.</p><p>&ldquo;What we heard over and over again was that, for example, you have a lot of family-owned businesses,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and a city inspector goes in to talk to a business about an issue, and there almost always seems to be a language barrier.&rdquo; Pawar said this results in tense relations between minority business owners and the city.</p><p>&ldquo;While the city has done a really good job in making sure that certain documents and postings are available in Spanish and in Polish, we&rsquo;ve got to do a better job in making sure that it&rsquo;s available in more languages,&rdquo; Pawar added. &ldquo;We have to pass a comprehensive language access ordinance, so that if I&rsquo;m a business owner, (or if) I&rsquo;m a constituent who feels like I need to talk to the Commission on Human Relations because I&rsquo;ve been harassed, that I can speak to someone and have my complaint translated from Hindi to English.&rdquo;</p><p>Currently only the city&rsquo;s emergency services, such as 911, have access to Language Line, a service that provides telephonic translation for government agencies. Pawar&rsquo;s ordinance, which he said will be offered in conjunction with the mayor&rsquo;s Office of New Americans, would require other city departments to assess their language needs. If more departments require the service, Pawar would like them to have access to the Language Line.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;So I think one thing I want to address in the very near term, and I think the caucus is going to work on, is identifying funds for next year&rsquo;s budget, or at a minimum 2015&rsquo;s budget, to expand the language bank offerings,&rdquo; Pawar said.</p><p>Some Asians in Chicago say they&rsquo;ve felt frozen out of city affairs lately, starting when Mayor Rahm Emanuel consolidated or disbanded the advisory councils of the Commission on Human Relations two years ago. The African, Latino, Arab and Asian advisory councils were rolled into a single Equity Council that now advises the Commission.</p><p>The ethnic advisory councils, by some accounts, were meaningful forums that brought issues to light under former mayors like Harold Washington. Some say that under former mayor Richard M. Daley, they atrophied into something less &ndash; a place where minorities were given nominal access to city staff, but that ultimately accomplished little. Nonetheless, the councils were once a first point of contact for Chicagoans who wanted to bring complaints of discrimination to the city&rsquo;s attention.</p><p>&ldquo;I have heard through members of the community that they&rsquo;re having a little bit of a difficult time finding the right person,&rdquo; said Chris Zala, former Director of the Council on Asian Affairs to the Commission on Human Relations. Zala said many still come to him with problems, and he tries to direct them to city departments that might be helpful.</p><p>The new Equity Council has several Asian-American members, but two years after the dissolution of its predecessors, it has yet to gain traction.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re still in our first year as a council,&rdquo; said Josina Morita, a member of the Equity Council. &ldquo;So we&rsquo;re still doing our listening tours across the city and then we&rsquo;ll be identifying our points of strategy later in the process.&rdquo;</p><p>Many community members were alarmed at the disbandment of the advisory councils, and the sudden relative lack of high-level Asian-American policy advisors in Emanuel&rsquo;s office (unlike the previous Daley administration). All this came just as census numbers affirmed Asian-Americans as the fastest-growing minority group in the state, and one of the fastest in Chicago.</p><p>So will the creation of an Asian-American Caucus at the legislative level ameliorate the losses?</p><p>&ldquo;Perhaps it can help relay the community&rsquo;s concerns and ideas and concerns on up to the executive branch in one way or another,&rdquo; said Zala. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s my hope.&rdquo;</p><p>One interesting observation about the new caucus: of the 12 members that were originally announced on the caucus (two were added later in the week), Pawar&rsquo;s ward contains the smallest percentage of Asian-Americans, just over 7 percent. The council member whose ward has the highest percentage, at 34 percent, is Ald. James Balcer (11th).</p><p>An organizer who lobbies elected officials on behalf of Asian-American interests said Balcer was not open to consideration of a proposed ward map that would have kept the majority of Chinatown-area residents in one district. The source asked to remain anonymous because of the need to maintain a working relationship with city officials, but added that the rebuff wasn&rsquo;t surprising. Referring to other community organizations that work with Asian-Americans in Chicago, the organizer added, &ldquo;What they&rsquo;ve told us privately is it&rsquo;s been difficult to get some aldermen to be responsive.&rdquo;</p><p>Ultimately, many see the success of the caucus resting squarely on Pawar&rsquo;s shoulders. Pawar has declared that he intends to hold office for no more than two terms. His efforts may be buoyed by the growth in Chicago&rsquo;s Asian-American population. Community organizers have mounted <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/asian-american-voter-turnout-expected-increase-year-103665" target="_blank">successful voter registration campaigns</a> over the last several years, and have gained state-wide influence with the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/asian-americans-have-state-caucus-98917" target="_blank">creation of an Asian-American Caucus</a> in the General Assembly. These changes may persuade Pawar&rsquo;s fellow caucus members that it&rsquo;s time, again, to keep a seat at the table reserved for Asian-Americans in Chicago.</p><p>Members of the City of Chicago&rsquo;s Asian-American Caucus: Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), Danny Solis (25th), Patrick O&rsquo;Connor (40th), Dick Mell (33rd), Walter Burnett (27th), Bob Fioretti (2nd), Will Burns (4th), Joe Moore (49th), James Balcer (11th), Debra Silverstein (50th), Harry Osterman (48th), James Cappleman (46th), Marge Laurino (39th), Brendan Reilly (42nd).</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><p>Correction note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Pawar declared he would hold office for one term only.</p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 11:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/asian-americans-hope-new-chicago-caucus-will-restore-clout-107912 Israeli government responds about Bedouin relocation policy and Gilad Shalit http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/israeli-government-responds-about-bedouin-relocation-policy-and-gilad-sh <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/israel1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today, we sit down for a candid conversation with Israel’s deputy consul general to the Midwest, <a href="http://chicago.mfa.gov.il/index.php/he/consulate/deputy-consul-general" target="_blank">Shahar Arieli</a>.</p><p>Shahar explains why the Israeli government is relocating 30,000 Arab Bedouins from their unrecognized villages in southern Israel to recognized settlements. He also delves into the recent release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit through a prisoner exchange with Hamas.</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 17:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/israeli-government-responds-about-bedouin-relocation-policy-and-gilad-sh Israel plans to displace 30,000 Bedouin Israeli citizens http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/israel-plans-displace-30000-bedouin-israeli-citizens-93501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/bedouin2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last month, the Israeli government approved a plan to relocate 30,000 Bedouin Arabs living in unrecognized villages and tent encampments in southern Israel to settlements recognized by the state. Critics say the plan forcibly removes people from their ancestral lands and sends them to some of the most destitute parts of the country.</p><p>In response to criticism, a spokesperson for the Israel Lands Administration recently said the government is “making the utmost efforts so that people don’t have to be uprooted.” He added, “We’re accommodating them to an amazing degree.”</p><p>We hear from a wide range of Israeli citizens, both Arab and Jewish, who are concerned about the relocation. The activists are on a tour of the U.S sponsored by the <a href="http://bedouinjewishjustice.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Campaign for Bedouin-Jewish Justice in Israel</a> and <a href="http://bedouinjewishjustice.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Rabbis for Human Rights</a>.</p><p>Rawia Abu-Rabia is a civil rights attorney and Palestinian Bedouin citizen of Israel. Michal Rotem is a Jewish Israeli with the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality in Israel. And Dr. Thabet Abu Ras is an academic who works for minority rights with <a href="http://www.adalah.org/eng/" target="_blank">Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel</a>.</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/israel-plans-displace-30000-bedouin-israeli-citizens-93501 New Illinois commission to promote environmental justice http://www.wbez.org/story/new-illinois-commission-promote-environmental-justice-90681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Fisk Flickr Carlyn Crispell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois has a new environmental law that's designed to protect minorities and the poor.</p><p>The Environmental Justice Act, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday, will create the new Commission on Environmental Justice, which will be&nbsp;composed of lawmakers, citizens, health experts, environmental advocates and businesses. The commission's charge will be to prevent economically disadvantaged communities from bearing the bulk of the effects of industrial pollution and other environmental risks.&nbsp;</p><p>Representative Will Davis, D-East Hazel Crest,&nbsp;is one of the law's principal backers. He says several communities deserve to have extra environmental scrutiny. One example Davis cites is Altgeld Gardens, a primarily African-American community on Chicago's South Side.</p><p>"It sits directly across the street from a huge landfill," Davis said. "It has been reported or alleged that there are higher incidences of cancer-related illnesses and deaths in comparison to other communities."</p><p>Davis hopes the new Commission on Environmental Justice will find all sites that pose environmental risks to Illinoisans. The commission is expected to review state environmental laws and policies, and then make recommendations to the governor and general assembly.<br> <br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 23:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-illinois-commission-promote-environmental-justice-90681 Boy's death sparks minority campaign to help blood cancer patients http://www.wbez.org/story/be-match/boys-death-sparks-minority-campaign-help-blood-cancer-patients-84573 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-31/for web.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><div style="background-color: transparent;"><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8413256360217929" style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Blood cancer patients face slim odds when it comes to finding a genetic match for bone marrow transplants.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Chances are even slimmer for racial and ethnic minorities, because few have registered to &nbsp;be bone marrow donors.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The recent death of a Naperville teenager has galvanized a team of South Asian volunteers to fix that problem for their own community.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">WBEZ’s North Side Bureau reporter Odette Yousef has the story.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bilal Mallick would have turned 16 last week.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He was a sophomore at Naperville North High School... a football player and on the Junior Statesmen of America Club.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He was supposed to go with the club to Washington DC in February.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Instead, he was in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Oak Lawn. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bilal had leukemia, a blood cancer. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">He went through chemotherapy.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tanveer Mallick is his father:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MALLICK: We had started just before that the process of trying to see if a bone marrow match might be necessary, and had checked his siblings, my other kids, to see if there was a match within the family, and there was not.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The next place to check would have been the national bone marrow registry.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bone marrow matches are more likely among donors who share the same racial or ethnic roots, because they have similar genes.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But like other minority groups, South Asians haven’t registered in great numbers.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bilal’s roots are Indian. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tanveer Mallick says that didn’t help Bilal’s chances of finding a match:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MALLICK: We’d started the process of doing drives to increase the number of people registered. And so a group of friends and colleagues got together and started to plan drives all around Chicago as well as around the nation.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But before the search started, Bilal came down with an infection, and he died from septic shock.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tanveer Mallick says that created a crisis moment for the group that came together to help Bilal.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The immediate need was gone... but now they knew others might need help. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They were charged up, so they went ahead with their campaign, and dedicated it to Bilal.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">-----</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">STANDUP</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KHADIR: Yeah, let me check your application to make sure everything’s ok. Filled out all the medical information...</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">OY: </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Drive organizers are looking for opportunities to find large numbers of south Asians together. </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&nbsp;That’s why Mateen Khadir and his dad are manning a table at the Downtown Islamic Center, in the community room. </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">every seat at the table that Mateen has set up at the table has set up for bone marrow registrants is taken</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KHADIR: What I need you to do is take out those swabs, and on teh four corners of inside of your mouth, on the cheeks, to rub them. Give them a good rub, for like 5 or 10 seconds each, and just throw them back in there.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">MAN: One for each side?</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">KHADIR: One for each corner of your mouth.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">-------------------------</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Khadir says he gets lots of technical questions: What’s the drive about? How likely is it I’ll have to donate? Will extraction hurt?</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But some South Asians have another concern.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Jennifer Baird is from <a href="http://www.marrow.org/">Be the Match</a>, a nonprofit that works with the National Bone Marrow program.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">She’s helping the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CureBilal">Remember Bilal</a> campaign.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">BAIRD: I</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">t was quite a surprise to me actually. A couple weeks ago at a mosque, I was doing some training pre-drive, and a gentleman asked me if the individuals Bilal, Rayan in New York, and Sonya in San Francisco, if these were figures that were created for propaganda for a "master list" of Muslims, collecting their DNA and their addresses in the United States, and I was so blown away and disappointed at the same time.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Baird says she hears similar concerns from other ethnic groups.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For example, Hispanics often worry she’s collecting information that will get them deported. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Baird says those suspicions disappear when bone marrow drives become a regular part of community events.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">But that’s rare -- people usually start drives because a particular person falls ill.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Momentum passes after a donor’s found, or the person dies. </span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Baird believes this donor campaign will be different:</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">BAIRD: T</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">hey organized a committee. This committee did all the training, they translated everything, they’re doing emails blasts, they’re doing flyers, they’re doing text messaging, they’ve got multiple facebook pages. I’ve never seen anything like it.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">So far, Remember Bilal added more than 1000 South Asians to the registry.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They’ve also had drives in Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Baird says even if this effort couldn’t save Bilal, she’s certain it will save someone in the future.</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</span></div><div style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</div><div style="background-color: transparent;">Information about additional drives for the Remember Bilal campaign can be found <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CureBilal">here</a>.</div><div style="background-color: transparent;">For more information about the National Bone Marrow program, click <a href="http://www.marrow.org/">here</a>.</div></p> Fri, 01 Apr 2011 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/be-match/boys-death-sparks-minority-campaign-help-blood-cancer-patients-84573 Illinois law aims to protect minority voter rights http://www.wbez.org/story/cw-chan/illinois-law-aims-protect-minority-voter-rights <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/quinn 001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Minority group advocates say Illinois took a big step Monday toward protecting their political voices with the signing of the Illinois Voting Rights Act of 2011.</p><p>&ldquo;The rules in the districts are gerrymandered so they are rigged against anyone who may have a group in a particular area,&rdquo; said Governor Pat Quinn at the bill signing in Chicago&rsquo;s Chinatown. &ldquo;One of the purposes of the law is to make sure our racial minorities, our language minorities, our citizens who live in a particular area, get a fair chance to elect the person of their choice.&rdquo;</p><p>The law was introduced by State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, after both Republicans and Democrats failed to rewrite the laws that govern legislative redistricting. Both parties proposed competing amendments to the state constitution to avoid what happened the last three times the lines were drawn: partisan deadlocks forced legislators to choose either a Democrat or a Republican from a hat, literally, and the winner drew the map.</p><p>Chinatown community leaders praised the new law, which they had lobbied for in Springfield. C.W. Chan of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, said when Illinois redistricted in the past, Chinatown became a textbook case of how concentrated minority populations could be marginalized.</p><p>&ldquo;Despite meeting all criteria for inclusion in a single district, like compactness, contiguity, and being a community of interest,&rdquo; said Chan, &ldquo;we are nevertheless not protected by any law as we do not have the magic number of the voting age majority.&rdquo;</p><p>Chan hopes the new law will help Chinese-Americans on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side fall into fewer legislative and representative districts. Currently, they are divided between four wards, four state representative districts, three state senate districts, and three Congressional districts. Community leaders say that has made it difficult to lobby for the government services and resources that their immigrant community needs.</p><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Mar 2011 23:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cw-chan/illinois-law-aims-protect-minority-voter-rights Assessor election suggests white reformers ought not go it alone http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/Claypool_at_Salem.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The results of a fiercely contested Cook County election are exposing a gulf between white liberals and minority voters.<br /><br />Forrest Claypool&rsquo;s anti-machine rhetoric has proven popular over the years with white progressives. But he needed broader support to beat Democrat Joe Berrios in Tuesday&rsquo;s Cook County assessor election.<br /><br />In particular, Claypool had to do better in heavily minority neighborhoods than when he tried to unseat Cook County Board President John Stroger in 2006.<br /><br />He didn&rsquo;t do better.<br /><br />Jamiko Rose, executive director of the Organization of the Northeast, said the results show how far the progressive movement has to go. &ldquo;We need to identify the issues that different ethnic communities care about and build relationships and work on those issues,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />Many community organizers say a good-government agenda isn&rsquo;t enough. They say reformers also need to focus on issues like jobs, schools and public safety.</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 22:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/assessor-election-suggests-white-reformers-ought-not-go-it-alone Bank and borrowers forge new ties http://www.wbez.org/story/banks/bank-and-borrowers-forge-new-ties <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/IMG_0758.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;Bank failures have brought a wave of new lenders into many communities. These institutions are larger and more stable than the ones they have replaced, but they don&rsquo;t have the same relationships with the communities they serve. For minority business owners that rely heavily on loans from their small, local banks, this can be a rocky transition. And on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, one bank&rsquo;s troubles with its South Asian borrowers boiled over into a big enough problem that a U.S. Congresswoman had to intervene.</p><div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Businessman Balvinder Singh was one of the first to voice his problems with United Central Bank.&nbsp;Standing in front of a strip of storefronts that he owns on Clark Street, he pointed out a Chinese restaurant at the corner. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the one pays my bills,&rdquo; Singh said with a rueful laugh. &ldquo;If my properties are fully rented,&rdquo; said Singh, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have a problem to pay my mortgage.&rdquo; </span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">But Singh&rsquo;s retail strip is far from full; most of the rest of the spaces are empty or occupied by tenants that are behind on rent.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Singh's troubles began last December, when almost all his tenants went out of business or left the property in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. Singh said when he realized this, he immediately went to his lender: United Central Bank. &ldquo;I showed them my plans,&rdquo; said Singh. &ldquo;I told them up to March I will fill up my property and I will start paying you certain amount, and they agree.&rdquo; But Singh says after he filled about 80 percent of the property with tenants, the bank refused to work out a loan modification.&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">The next month Singh got foreclosure notices on his three properties in the area, but he also found out that he wasn't the only borrower in trouble with United Central Bank--another North Side businessman, Arshad Javid, was stuck in the same situation. Javid approached Singh with a petition that alleged United Central Bank discriminated against its South Asian borrowers. Together, Singh and Javid got nearly 30 other minority borrowers to sign it.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">United Central Bank&rsquo;s CEO, Luke Lively, denies racial prejudice played any role in lending decisions. &ldquo;It hurt us when we hear those kinds of claims because,one, we've never heard those anywhere else in the 23 (-year) history of the bank,&rdquo; said Lively. &ldquo;If that was the case, that would have been something that would have bubbled up, I'm sure, at some point. It's never been the case.&rdquo;</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Since Texas-based United Central Bank acquired failed Mutual Bank last year, Lively has traveled frequently to the company&rsquo;s Western Avenue location on Chicago's far North Side.&nbsp;Those trips have become particularly important in the wake of the allegations of discrimination.&nbsp;Lively said United Central Bank investigated the claims, but found no written proof, in emails or other records, to substantiate them.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">But Lively does concede the borrowers were treated in a less-than-professional manner. &ldquo;It was more things like -- and this is, to me, this is a terrible term, but it's 'I'm tired of babysitting you, as a borrower,'&rdquo; said Lively. &ldquo;'Babysitting' being a term that we saw in e-mails, something that we could identify from within.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Lively said the bank fired two loan officers as a result of the investigation. Despite that, a spokesman from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation confirms the agency is investigating a complaint of racial discrimination.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">The petitioners also sought relief from another source: U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Singh had approached Schakowsky early into his troubles, but she declined to intervene on his behalf. Schakowsky said it wasn&rsquo;t until she saw the petition that she understood the urgency of the matter. &ldquo;I was concerned about the neighborhood and I was concerned about a large number of constituents,&rdquo; she said. Schakowsky helped arrange a town hall meeting with the borrowers and Lively. It was there that the bank committed to working with the borrowers to avoid foreclosures.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">But some have questioned Schakowsky's involvement during this election year. Her opponent has filed a <a href="http://www.pollakforcongress.com/2010/10/13/pollak-to-file-expanded-ethics-complaint-against-schakowsky/">complaint </a>with the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging that Schakowsky&rsquo;s intervention was politically motivated. The complaint says that only a few names on the petition are actually targets of United Central Bank foreclosures. And some of those names, like Balivinder Singh, have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Illinois Democrats.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Schakowsky says she didn't consider campaign contributions when she decided to get involved.&nbsp;&ldquo;I feel completely non-defensive about having intervened,&rdquo; said Schakowsky. &ldquo;I'm proud of it. I think it was a really good thing.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Many of the signatures on the petition are people who are employed by borrowers. Singh says they signed because they would lose their jobs if the businesses were foreclosed.</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Geoffrey Smith of the Woodstock Institute says it&rsquo;s a good thing the bank and the borrowers there are finally working together. &ldquo;Our experience in talking to community organizations, that's a real concern,&rdquo; said Smith. &ldquo;(That) when a local bank is acquired, especially a community bank is acquired by an out-of-town bank, that it changes the way that the bank interacts with the community.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Lively has asked the borrowers to form an advisory committee to tell him how the bank is doing with minority borrowers. It&rsquo;s supposed to meet on a regular basis. &ldquo;This is, I think, an opportunity where you can turn something that is really critically negative into something positive by simply not offering words, but by offering actions and community involvement,&rdquo; said Lively. </span></div> <div style="">&nbsp;</div> <div style=""><span style="font-size: 10pt;">The committee has met once already, and Singh attended. Even while looking at his nearly-deserted shopping strip in Rogers Park, Singh says the meetings with United Central Bank have restored some optimism in him. &ldquo;I think things will be alright. If bank works with the people, things will be alright,&rdquo; said Singh. &ldquo;I will work with (United Central Bank), you know. Whatever the way I will have to work, I will work.&rdquo;</span></div></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 21:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/banks/bank-and-borrowers-forge-new-ties