-- Civic Leaders, Scholars, and Local Demographic Expert Discussed
Electoral District Changes and How to Increase Immigrants’ Voting Power --
FLUSHING, NY, March 29, 2011 -- At a forum held March 28 at Queens College, civic leaders, scholars and local experts discussed such issues as the impact of immigration on the changing demographics in Queens, redistricting electoral boundaries and increasing political empowerment for Asian-American and other immigrant communities in the borough. These issues are particularly relevant in light of newly released census figures which indicate that the number of Asians has increased by 32%, passing the 1,000,000 mark and now constituting 13% of the population.
“About two thirds of our city's population are foreign born or children of immigrants,” said Madhulika Khandelwal, QC professor of Urban Studies and director of the college’s Asian/American Center (A/AC), which sponsored the event. “They are changing the perception of what it means to be an American. Despite our various ethnicities, everyone is affected by immigration and faces common issues. Many of them can be resolved by building intercultural coalitions and increasing immigrants’ civic and political participation.”
The conference’s keynote speaker was Paul Ong, UCLA Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Asian American Studies, who provided strategies for increasing Asian-American voting power in New York.
At the forum, “Immigrant Queens: Defining Communities of Interest,” the other speakers were:
· Christina Baal, New York Immigration Coalition
· May Chen, New York State Immigrant Action Fund
· Hector Cordero-Guzman, professor in Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs
· Ron Hayduk, QC Political Science professor
· Tarry Hum, QC Urban Studies professor
· S.J. Jung, MinKwon Center for Community Action
· Glenn Magpantay, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
· John Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center
· Arturo Sanchez, City and Regional Planning professor, Cornell University
· Howard Shih, Asian American Federation of New York.
Co-sponsoring the forum with the A/AC were the college’s Urban Studies and Political Science departments, Latin American and Latino Studies programs, Center for Racial, Ethnic and Religious Understanding and the Political Science Student Club.
Established in 1987, the A/AC is dedicated to developing community-oriented activities and research that analyzes the various dimensions of the Asian American experience in the New York area with a focus on the local/global communities in Queens.