asian american leaders in chicago are not happy with rahm emanuel

Received some interesting news from the Asian American Institute about some trouble brewing in Chicago, where some Asian American organizations are up in arms about mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel's "machine" political tactics.

For Chicago's upcoming election, they've partnered up with ten Asian ethnic community organizations to promote voter education, and have invited the top five candidates to attend a Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Candidates Forum, happening Tuesday, February 8 at St. Augustine College.

Not surprisingly, Rahm Emanuel has declined to attend, because he's apparently been dismissing most community forums. But here's where he's pissed some people off: Emanuel has scheduled a fundraiser with the Korean community at the exact same time as the PAVE Candidates Forum. Here's an excerpt from AAI's press release:
Asian American Leaders Denounce Emanuel
for Old School Divide and Conquer Machine Politics:

Emanuel to stiff pan-Asian Mayoral Forum
while scheduling a fundraiser with Koreans

The Asian American Institute and its 10 partners are outraged that Rahm Emanuel is using "machine" political tactics to try to divide the Asian American community by scheduling a fundraiser with the Korean community at the exact same time as the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Candidates Forum, which is on Tuesday, February 8th at 6:30pm, St. Augustine College, 1345 W. Argyle St. Chicago, IL 60640 . PAVE organizations are urging its members to attend the event to demonstrate that the Asian American vote cannot be ignored, and call the Emanuel campaign to insist on his attendance at the candidate’s forum.

"It is unacceptable that the Emanuel campaign would use these tired and divisive tactics to pit us against one another," said Sik Sohn, executive director of the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center. "Our grassroots effort at educating our community is being thwarted by a small group of donors."

"There are 60,000 Asian Americans registered in Chicago, and we can make the difference if Emanuel is trying to avoid a run-off," said Tuyet Le, executive director, Asian American Institute.

All other invited candidates have confirmed their attendance: Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, Carole Mosley-Braun, and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. The non-partisan candidates’ forum is expected to have 750 attendees, and address an Asian American agenda forged by the community-based organizations participating in the event.
Needless to say, the organizers of the forum, and the ethnic community groups they represent, are not happy with Emanuel's intentionally divisive tactics -- especially since they've worked so hard to collaborate and present a strong unified voice. If you're in Chicago, here are some more details about the event:
Mayoral Candidates' Forum

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

6:30pm - 8:00pm
(Doors open at 6:00pm)

St. Augustine Hall, 1345 W. Argyle Street
(Free Parking available at St. Augustine College)
(Buses available through partner organizations)

Want to volunteer? We need help setting up and tearing down the event! For more information contact Alisha Saville at 773-271-0899 x254 or alisha@aaichicago.org.
The organizations are urging its members to attend the candidate's forum to send a message that the Asian American vote cannot be ignored. For more information, contact James Pappachen at 773-655-3081 or jpappac@gmail.com. Also check out the Asian American Institute website here.

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