How do we vote for our families and communities?
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
For the tenth annual National Voter Registration Day, Michigan nonprofits APIAVote-Michigan and Rising Voices of Asian American Families were out registering people to vote on college campuses and local Asian grocery stories – 168 Mart, Patel Brothers, Desi Fruit Market – and reminding people, “We vote for our families, loved ones, and Asian American communities.”
When I teach at the University of Michigan, I always remind students to double check their voter registration and local voting laws because every state is different. Reregister to vote every time you move. Find out if your driver’s license needs to match your voter registration address (because college students often keep their parents’ address on their driver’s license). Find out if you can vote absentee and apply for an absentee ballot early. If you are already registered to vote, bring two friends to get registered. Make it a celebration, especially if this will be your first time voting.
“In recent years, we have seen a tremendous uptick in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voter turnout,” said Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) said in a statement. “Because of this participation, AAPIs are now the fastest growing electorate in our nation. However, communities of color have historically faced barriers when accessing the ballot box, and our voting rights across the country are continually under attack.”
In addition to voting, there are other ways to advocate for our communities.
Univ. of Tennessee Knoxville Professor Anming Hu, along with APA Justice, 1990 Institute, and other Asian American advocacy groups are calling upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Casey Arrowood for U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Tennessee. As Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tennessee, Arrowood wrongfully and doggedly prosecuted Professor Hu for spying without sufficient evidence as part of the former administration’s China Initiative which unfairly targeted many Chinese American scientists for spying.
Last week, the ACLU gave oral arguments for Xi v. United States before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Temple University Professor Xiaoxing Xi’s lawsuit seeks to hold the FBI accountable for its fabrication of evidence, discriminatory profiling, and baseless prosecution under the now defunct China Initiative, as well as the lasting trauma he and his family have endured since his wrongful arrest.
The next day, the White House hosted the United We Stand Summit, the first convening of its kind, bringing together families, faith leaders, and activists impacted by hate violence. The Filipina American grandmother attacked in the lobby of a New York City office building spoke about her ordeal for the first time. The Sikh American son of a religious leader killed at Oak Creek talked about partnering with a former white supremacist to bring youth together across differences. Sikh American filmmaker Valarie Kaur was honored as a Uniter for her work building Revolutionary Love.
“We remain in the battle for the soul of our nation,” Biden said. “When I look around at all of you here today, I know we’ll win that battle. I know we’ll win it. The power is within each of us to transform the story of our time, to rise together against hate, to show who we are. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing — nothing beyond our capacity.”
And the first step is to make sure your college students and elders and new neighbors are registered to vote!