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General Assembly Consolidates Chinatown's Power

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 5, 2011 2:30PM

After some good old-fashioned community organizing, leaders in Chinatown have a political victory under their belt: the state legislature sent Governor Quinn a bill that once signed, will consolidate the 59 precincts in Chicago's Chinatown into one legislative district.

Chinatown leaders have long complained that splitting the neighborhood among four House and four Senate districts dilutes their political power. Community activists hope that the neighborhood will be in one house district, giving the voting block of some 6,000 voters more clout in political decisions and votes in the General Assembly when the state goes through redistricting later this year.

Last year WBEZ took a look at how Chinatown has changed since 1990, noting a 60 percent increase in Asian-American residents that live there, according to the 2000 Census. How much that number has grown in the last decade should be known as the 2010 Census numbers start to come out. But according to WBEZ, the Chinese American Services League, Chinatown's largest social services agency, says that growth has continued.

Now, if the city can figure out how to put Chinatown into the 11th Ward, where it spills over into Bridgeport, maybe residents can have some real clout on the city council.