Naperville starting Chinese, Indian community outreach
Naperville's Chinese and Indian communities now each have a face in Mayor George Pradel's office -- two residents who have become volunteer managers charged with leading outreach efforts to people of their respective backgrounds.
Pradel this week announced the creation of the outreach positions to be filled by Bill Liu, who will work with Chinese residents, and Krishna Bansal, who will reach out to the city's Indian community.
"We have such a diversified city that I've been wanting to kind of get on the cutting edge of bringing all our groups together," Pradel said.
The outreach managers mainly will work to answer questions for Chinese and Indian residents and help them become more comfortable with the processes and procedures of city government, Pradel said. Liu and Bansal also will connect city leadership to important groups in the Chinese and Indian communities and stand in for Pradel if he's unavailable for their meetings and events.
The men will work independently, but can form committees of others involved in cultural or business endeavors, especially as they will be asked to collaborate with the Naperville Development Partnership on bringing new businesses to town.
"Bill and Krishna will have unique opportunities to assist us in the local and international economic development efforts," Pradel said at Tuesday's city council meeting as he announced the new outreach efforts.
Liu was chosen to be the Chinese outreach manager after helping develop the city's Chinese webpage, which went live in March.
"My effort for the Chinese outreach certainly will be educational, culture and business," Liu said. "That's the way I hope I can communicate with the Chinese community and connect with the Chinese community to make Naperville a much more interesting and a better place to live."
Bansal was tapped after running unsuccessfully for Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board in the spring and continuing to seek ways to get involved in government.
"As the first chairman of Indian Community Outreach, my core mission will be to incorporate Indian Americans into the civic arena and inspire participation by our community that has been hesitant to participate," Bansal said.
Pradel said he chose to begin outreach efforts among Chinese and Indian residents because they are two of the city's largest minority groups. According to 2010 census data, 7.4 percent of Naperville residents are Indian and 3.9 percent are Chinese.
Appointing a similar leader to begin Hispanic outreach could be next, Pradel said. Hispanics and Latinos from all countries make up 5.3 percent of Naperville's population, according to 2010 census figures. The rest of the city's roughly 142,000 population is made up of 76.5 percent white people and 4.7 percent blacks.
"I'm hoping within the next year we will have another group that will come before us and want to be a part of it," Pradel said. "This is just a pilot program to bring everyone together."