Josina Morita elected as first Asian-American Cook County Commissioner

On Sunday, Nov. 20, Josina Morita was sworn in as the first Asian-American 13th District Cook County Commissioner. 

The inauguration, taken place at Evanston Township High School, featured various Chinese performers, including a Chinese dragon dance at the beginning and dressing Chinese traditional drums to end the ceremony. 

Josina began her political career serving as an urban planner for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in  2016. During her term, she achieved both local and national success by founding the nation’s first Asian American Caucus and the Mama Caucus, and earned recognition as a Young Asian American Star by the Asian Fortune magazine in 2016, and a National Water Hero by WaterNow in 2018.

Photo accredited to Josina Morita

As Cook County Commissioner, Josina pledges to continue to fight for social equality and government transparency. 

“I may not be Assyrian or a refugee, Black or Latino, Muslim or Jewish, LGBT or Q. But I do know what it’s like to be unseen, unheard and unrepresented,” Morita said during her inauguration speech. “To be told that, statistically, you do not matter. Today, I am the one being sworn in but I am pulling up a chair for everyone to be seated at the table.” 

Niles North seniors Olivia Frey, Kirsten Ng and Ariel Strubel Iram were invited by Morita to speak on behalf of their experiences volunteering with her campaign.

“Through these opportunities, my peers and I are exposed to a diverse community which challenges us to think and serve more equitably,” Ng said. 

These individuals served on her campaign throughout the year, helping at campaign events, dropping off signs, and even attended an the AAPI Victory Fund’s AAPI “Get Out the Vote” panel with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Tammy Duckworth

“I think it’s really important to get involved in local politics, just because it’s just a really good opportunity to see who’s representing you at the lowest level,” Strubel Iram said. “I feel like ‘lowest’ is a bad word of describing it because, like saying that they’re the lowest level politician is like implying that they have the least role in your everyday life, when in fact, it’s the opposite.”

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