A week ago, I received an email from Cynthia Brothers of 18 Million Rising, an Asian American advocacy group dedicated to promoting Asian Americans to vote. Cynthia asked me if TigerStartups could help partner with 18 Million Rising to promote their cause, by placing a “register to vote” widget on our website. My answer was an absolute yes!
Before I go into why I feel our basic and most precious constitutional right must be exercised, let’s talk more about 18 Million Rising. According to their website, 18MR was founded by Jee Kim and Ian Inaba (Citizen Engagement Lab) to promote APIA civic engagement by leveraging the power of technology and social media. 18MR is more than just an organization, it is a campaign composed of partners with significant reach in the Asian American community, from community based organizations (Asian Pacific Americans for Progress) and print magazines to Asian American blogs (TigerStartups, AngryAsianMan) and YouTube channels. For the past year and until election day, 18MR will promote online voter registration, run social media civic engagement campaigns, and provide newsworthy political information that has an affect on Asian Americans.
When I heard about 18MR and their campaign, I was more than happy to be a partner - anything I can do to help promote Asian American issues. For too long and still unfortunately quite true today, Asian Americans have not spoken up for our rights and issues that concern us, literally and with the voting booth. We may not need to be loud to be heard, but unless our votes are counted, we won't be heard period. Yes, we are the fastest growing minority group, faster than even the Latino population, but we are still a minority and we are still one of the smallest, behind Latinos and African Americans. Thus, more reason for our voice to be heard - by voting.
According to 18MR, only 55% of Asian American citizens of voting age are registered to vote - the lowest rate of all races. This is not acceptable. We need to vote at a much higher level in order for Asian American politicians to be elected or non Asian American politicians to listen to us, dare they lose out vote and their jobs!
Voting is a fundamental right that was fought by many groups throughout American history, led particularly by women (universal suffrage) and blacks (The Civil Rights Act). Thanks to them, they have paved the way for Asian Americans to vote like any American without the fear of intimidation like our earlier Asian American trailblazers.
Asian American issues are very dear to me. That’s why I wrote an article about “Why Doesn’t Huffington Post have Asian voices?” To me, voting and HuffPost not having Asian Voices are related. Why would HuffPost have Asian Voices, if we Asians don’t demand it? Until we start to participate in more civic engagement, like 18MR’s campaign and actually vote on election day, politicians to companies like the HuffPost will just continue to ignore us. But I refuse to be ignored. And I believe you do too.
So please, if you are not registered, register now, so your voice can be heard. And if you are registered, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! Election day is Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
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