Social Justice

Ballots in Korean for March 15 primary expected to increase participation

By Jenny Lee

Korean-Americans in Chicago and suburban Cook County can no longer ascribe their low participation in elections to what usually is the biggest challenge for many minority language speakers – reading and speaking in English.

Prior to the 2016 Presidential election, The Chicago Board of Election and The Cook County Clerk decided to supply Korean-language sample ballots and bilingual election judges in 23 precincts heavily concentrated with Korean-Americans including Northbrook, Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, Skokie and Des Plaines.

The decisions came in an effort to expand access to the electoral process for eligible Korean-Americans – U.S. citizens ages 18 or older – and to facilitate more than 14,000 already registered Korean-Americans with translation services.

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Candidates take note, Asian-Americans care about gun control

By Colin Mo

With gun control one of the hot button issues of the 2016 Presidential campaign, Asian-American voters could matter in unexpected ways. Recent studies show that Asian-Americans regard gun control as “important,” more so on average than other ethnicities.

According to the Pew Research Center, the support for gun control generally surpassed the support for gun rights as of July last year, but only barely.  Yet for Asian-American voters, that support rises to 80 percent, according to 2014 data from APIAVOTE and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

One reason for that disparity might be that Asians are the least likely ethnicity to own a gun.

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Liberation Library empowers youth in prison with books of their own (video)

By Xiao Lyu

In a temporary place on the Near West Side, a small group of volunteers made bookmarks and wrote notes for a pack of books ready to be shipped to three juvenile detention centers in Illinois.

Having struggled for a while about what to write, first-time volunteer Paul Dailing chose some simple personal notes, such as “Hey, the art looks really fantastic” and “Hope you’ll enjoy it”.

“It’s just something valuable and should be done,” Dailing said.
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God is secondary in New Hampshire primary

By Jay Bouchard

MANCHESTER, NH—Tom Rettberg reflects the historical nature of New Hampshire voters—a fickle electorate notoriously tough to impress.

Standing in a crowded gymnasium waiting to hear Marco Rubio speak, Rettberg, an undecided voter from Weare, NH, described how he has spent months creating a comprehensive spreadsheet ranking each candidate in the Republican primary field. He’s evaluating the candidates on issues like economics, potential Supreme Court appointments, immigration, and national security.

Though he is a self-described Christian, Rettberg said his spreadsheet features no columns ranking the candidates’ religion or matters of faith.

He notes he has great respect for candidates who demonstrate their faith on the campaign trail, but said it’s “not a high priority” when he considers the many factors influencing his decision.

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Writer discusses social justice aspects of abortion rights

By Enrica Nicoli Aldini

Nearly one in three American women has had an abortion. Of these, 45 percent have had more than one. Thus, chances are that more often than not, whether in an elevator, a diner or a bar, anyone might be in the presence of at least one woman who has had an abortion.

This is one of the chief arguments Katha Pollitt, feminist poet and columnist at The Nation, uses to suggest that “abortion is a normal experience. It’s all around us.”

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Racing to catch Clinton, Sanders calls for “political revolution”

By Enrica Nicoli Aldini

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Bernie Sanders is tailgating Hillary Clinton in Iowa. With only four points separating the Democratic frontrunners,  the Vermont senator is working to overtake the former secretary of state in the final days before the Iowa caucuses.

Tapping into his ambitions for a political revolution in America, he is casting himself as the non-establishment Democratic candidate who would redistribute the country’s income to benefit the middle and working classes, reform the criminal justice system and reduce the cost of education and health care.

“When we talk about the anger that’s going on in America, it is the fact that ordinary people today are working longer hours for low wages and yet they’ve been seeing that most of the new income and wealth go to the top one percent,” he told a crowd that filled the  Danceland Ballroom on Friday in Davenport, Iowa’s third-largest city. “And whether the establishment likes it or not, we are saying enough is enough, that’s going to change.”

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Food Insecurity Screenings to Expand to Chicago Suburbs

By Anna Boisseau

Cook County will expand a pilot nutrition program into a second health clinic in the Chicago suburbs in early February. Doctors first began the process of questioning pediatric patients about their access to food at the Logan Square Health Center in September. After the success of the initial program, the Greater Chicago Food Depository will start training staff at the Cottage Grove Clinic in Ford Heights on how to conduct food insecurity screenings next week.

“Food insecurity is everywhere,” said Jim Conwell of the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). “A key part of launching this plan and this task force is also about…putting focus on the need…in suburban communities.”
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Righteous Fighters: how boxing can save lives in Chicago’s Southside (Video)

By Iacopo Luzi

40-year-old Ramon Zavaleta is a 4th District police officer with the Chicago Police Department. He is not just a cop. Every day, when his shift is over, he goes to the Community Christian Church and he becomes a boxing coach.

Four years ago, he took an empty room in an East Side building and turned it into a gym. Today it is the home of the Righteous Fighters, a boxing/MMA group founded by Ramon where young people are taught how to box and be respectful.
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White privilege is real, Black Lives Matter founders tell Loyola crowd

By Rebekah Frumkin and Carlos D. Williamson

It’s wrong for people to say all lives matter when certain races clearly have an advantage, said Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza during a celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday at Loyola University.

“What we’re trying to shift here is a paradigm, where the experiences of white folks are used to control how everybody else should live,” Garza said.
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Immigrant mother of deceased veteran fights to keep family together

By Hannah Rank

Olivia Segura remembers it in bits and pieces. The before and after. Everything before hearing the news is clear and chronological. Everything after is hazy and nightmarish.

[Listen to Olivia Segura tell her story below.]

“They asked me if I had any sickness, if my heart was okay,” she recalls. “I knew that something had happened but I never expected that she was going to be dead.”

It was Veterans’ Day in 2007 when Segura heard the news that her daughter, Ashley Sietsema, had died while on active duty in Kuwait. She and her husband Alberto had the day off and were unpacking groceries when the doorbell rang and a military officer was at the door.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Segura says. “I almost passed out.”

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