All posts by jennyzhang

Illinois primary results highlight rising political power of Asian Americans

By Jenny G. Zhang

Tuesday’s primary election proved a big win for Asian Americans, as candidates Theresa Mah, Josina Morita, Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi won their respective races in Illinois.

Mah and Morita made history by becoming, respectively, the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly and the first Asian American elected to a countywide board in Cook County.

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“Collective Voices, Shared Journeys”: Art that pays homage to survivors of gender violence

By Jenny G. Zhang

Malala Yousafzai. Benazir Bhutto. Gloria Gaynor. These women of color – activists, leaders, cultural icons – stand in sharp relief against the sky-blue background of the collage.

Pasted together, their edges overlapping, the figures pay homage to survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, political violence, deportation, incarceration and hate crimes.

“They kept going,” said the artist, Naomi Anurag Lahiri, gazing at her framed collage on the wall. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get out of bed in the morning, she said; this piece is a reminder to push onward.

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Community performances raise awareness for the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

By Jenny G. Zhang

“Coming, Mr. King!” the caregiver calls to her bedridden employer.

His bell chimes insistently, joining the cacophony of shrill rings from her cell phone and the landline.

Ding! – her family in the Philippines – ding! – requests for more money – ding! – her sick father – ding! – Mr. King ringing for assistance – ding! ding! ding!

The simultaneous demands, bearing down on her from all sides, overwhelm the caregiver. She freezes in place, paralyzed by the immense pressure. The noises come faster and louder, faster and louder.

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Chinese artist Xu Bing on inspiration, creativity and the future of art

By Jenny G. Zhang

What is the source of inspiration?

According to acclaimed Chinese artist Xu Bing, the answer is all around us.

“Our creations will always be a response to the new energy and questions or problems that occur from our social reality,” said Xu, who spoke before a full auditorium at the Art Institute of Chicago on February 22 as part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Visiting Artists Program.

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Japanese Americans commemorate the 74th anniversary of World War II internment

By Jenny G. Zhang

Jean Mishima was 6 years old when she and her family were forced to leave their home in California and relocate to an internment camp 600 miles away in Gila River, Arizona.

“My parents, they lost everything,” Mishima recalled.

Their five acres of farmland, their livelihoods, their dignity – all of it vanished when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed and issued Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, authorizing the deportation of Japanese Americans to so-called “relocation centers” around the country in response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

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Chinatown celebrates the Year of the Monkey with spectacular Chinese New Year parade (PHOTO GALLERY)

By Jenny G. Zhang

Hundreds of Chicagoans braved the cold and the snow to ring in the Year of the Monkey at the annual Chinese New Year parade in the heart of Chinatown on February 14.

Beginning at 1 p.m., 53 parade units – including eight marching bands and 18 colorful floats – followed the route along Wentworth Avenue between 24th Street and Cermak Road.

2016 marks the Chinese year 4714 and Chicago Chinatown’s 104th anniversary.

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Comedy troupe “Stir Friday Night” delivers laughs, with a side of Asian-American humor

By Jenny G. Zhang

“Don’t fall asleep with the fan on!” a mother tells her son as she bids him good night, citing a Korean wives’ tale that sleeping with the fan on will result in death. Scoffing, the son ignores the warning and nods off. In the darkness, the fan swivels to a halt and a shadowy figure emerges, standing menacingly over the slumbering man.

Looks like “fan death” isn’t just a kooky urban legend, after all.

The sketch, which features Nic Park, Ray Hui and Loreen Targos, is characteristic of Chicago comedy troupe Stir Friday Night’s unique brand of humor: a blend of Asian-American and universal truths that speak to multiple audiences.

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Divvy expansion to bring 75 new stations and nearly 1,000 bikes to 10 more locations

By Jenny G. Zhang

In the next major expansion of Divvy, Chicago’s popular bike sharing program will extend to the south and west sides, as well as two suburbs, with the addition of 75 new bike stations and nearly 1,000 bikes in summer 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced recently.

Plans include 40 stations in the South Side and Southwest Side neighborhoods of Burnside, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Brighton Park and Englewood, as well as 35 in Austin, Garfield Park and Rogers Park. The stations will help provide connections to 13 new stations in Oak Park and eight in Evanston.

A $3 million state grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation will cover 80 percent of the expansion cost. Oak Park and Evanston, the first municipalities to enjoy Divvy outside of Chicago’s borders, must each match the grant to make up the remaining 20 percent of the cost. Both municipalities will establish their own separate contracts with Divvy system operator Motivate International to ensure that the City of Chicago does not incur further costs due to suburban operations.

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Anger erupts over “comfort women” settlement between Japan and South Korea

By Jenny Lee and Jenny G. Zhang

Min-Ah Cho feels like the last 20 years have been wasted.

Cho visited Chicago for a demonstration last Wednesday to protest a recent settlement reached by the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea to end the two countries’ long-standing dispute over Japan’s sexual enslavement of thousands of women, known as “comfort women,” during World War II.

Under the so-called “final and irreversible” Dec. 28 resolution, Japan issued an apology and pledged 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) for a reparations fund. In return, South Korea promised to refrain from further criticizing Japan over the issue and to consider addressing Japan’s wish to remove a statue honoring the women from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
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