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Chicago Councilman Claims Racism in Response to Ward Map with Asian Majority

Chicago Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson took to Twitter this week to express his opposition to Chicago’s new ward map proposal, one that would give Asian Americans a majority in one of the city’s wards, reports Chicago Sun-Times.

Thompson claims the proposal put forward would divide the neighborhoods Canaryville and McKinley Park in order to create a 50% Asian ward (as lines would have to be redrawn), a move he says would be sacrificing “one neighborhood for another.”

“I have fought and will continue to fight to keep the 11th Ward neighborhoods together,” reads the letter to his constituents. “Dividing areas or neighborhoods based on race is indeed racism.”

One Twitter user responded to his letter in favor of the proposed plan:

Chicago Sun-Times writer Mark Brown asked Thompson to explain the “racism” he mentions, in which Thompson allegedly replied that it would be “segregating our community.”

Brown claims that the 11th Ward map has long been drawn to keep Thompson’s family, the Daleys, in power, but the alderman supposedly countered the claim with, “It’s drawn to keep communities together.”

WTTW reports that Chicago’s alderpeople were struggling to come to an agreement earlier this week with the ward map plan, with no one seemingly willing to give up any ground, despite several members claiming to be in support of the creation of an Asian majority ward.

Thompson’s proposed map for the 11th Ward would have 48% Asian Americans, in which he claims Chinatown would be kept united in one ward.

Chicago Tribune reports that the city has only had one Asian American alderperson before: Ameya Pawar, who represented the 47th Ward for two terms.

A rally held by Asian American community leaders earlier this month pushed for Chicago’s first Asian majority ward, with chants in both English and Mandarin of “We want representation. We want rights […] We do not want to be second-class citizens.”

Thompson reportedly has pleaded not guilty earlier this year to charges involving tax fraud.

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