Community Political Clout
Formerly seen as a newcomer community with few votes, Boston’s Chinese community has increased its voter turnout and political clout. Today, Chinatown is one of the city’s highest-turnout neighborhoods.
Chinatown, while it represents less than one-quarter of the area’s Chinese American population, has the highest concentration of Chinese American voters and is a strategic base from which to organize for political visibility, representation, and clout. At the same time, Chinese Americans need to expand our influence and participation in other neighborhoods and communities in which we live.
Our goal is to organize for grassroots democratic participation of ordinary Chinese community members in the political decision-making process in order to build collective community power.
Our strategy is to combine participatory issue-based organizing with broad-based voter education and registration, expand our local political base, organize for election reform and voting rights, and build coalitions with other disenfranchised communities.
Recent highlights and accomplishments:
- Helped immigrant citizens stand up for their rights and work with the City of Boston and US Department of Justice to secure bilingual Chinese and Vietnamese ballots in a historic voting rights settlement.
- Worked as part of a citywide coalition effort to win new reforms in Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy and the City of Boston’s definition of income standards for affordable housing.
- Supported youth-led campaign to secure $35,000 in the City of Boston capital budget for a feasibility and siting study for a Chinatown library.
- Continued to play a core role in Right to the City Boston to to unite communities of color around an issue-based agenda.
- Anchoring the community campaign to safeguard Asian American voting rights in Boston. The City of Boston twice unanimously passed a Home Rule Petition to extend Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots for Boston voters beyond 2008 and to specify that Chinese/English bilingual ballots must include transliteration of candidate names into Chinese characters. On July 31, 2010 Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the bilingual ballot Boston Horme Rule petition. Watch a video created by the Chinese Youth Initiative about the bilingual ballot victory