Community to mobilize South Asian voters

Reema Kapur and Rajinder Singh Mago
Reema Kapur and Rajinder Singh Mago

CHICAGO: South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI) and Advancing Justice | Chicago have scheduled a voters’ education forum on Sunday February 21 10 am to 1 pm at Sikh Gurudwara at St. Palatine, IL 60067. It is open to public.

“For our community, registering and getting out to the polls on March 15 is incredibly important,” said Rajinder Singh Mago, who serves on the Public Relations Committee of the Sikh Religious Society (SRS)
For the 2016 general and primary elections, the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (Advancing Justice | Chicago) will be partnering to mobilize the South Asian community to get out to vote.

The goal is to increase voting rates among South Asians in Illinois, particularly the greater Chicagoland area. Together, SAAPRI and Advancing Justice | Chicago will host forums for community discussion about the importance of exercising the right to vote.

“The South Asian community needs to respond to the current climate of anti-immigrant rhetoric, xenophobia and Islamaphobia with political action and power,” said Reema Kapur, Executive Director of SAAPRI. “We encourage South Asian community leaders to join our initiative to empower the community.”

There are over 242,000 South Asians living in Illinois, made up of people born abroad or in the United States and descending from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, or Bhutan. Among South Asians in Illinois, 67% are U.S. citizens and therefore eligible to register and vote.

The next election will take place on Tuesday, March 15, where voters will select Democratic and Republican Party nominees for President, Senate, and Congress, as well as the Illinois General Assembly and local races. The voter registration deadline is February 16. The general election will be held on November 8.

For more information, including a 2015 report on civic engagement in the South Asian community, visit SAAPRI’s website at

Advancing Justice | Chicago has released a candidates survey that shows the positions of aspiring officials on issues such as voting rights, public safety, language access, and healthcare. Please visit to see the survey.

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