I came for the Char Siu, but I stayed for the politics. On August 12th, 2016, the YESS center hosted its first ever President town hall watch party. AAJA (Asian American Journal Association) and APIAVote (Asian Pacific Islander American Vote) worked together to put on a forum where the potential presidential candidates spoke about their platforms and how they plan to address issues affecting our community. While I may not have agreed on everything the candidates said, but I will save that for another day. I left the forum with great optimism for the future of our country because of the lessons they were trying to pass on to the audience.
Gary Johnson was the opening speaker for the forum. One of the key moments I remember from his talk was the importance of voting for your conscience. With the election coming up, it is easy to be persuaded by your family and friends to vote for x candidate when you really want to vote for y candidate. A number of people often write off the candidates who are not with the two powerhouse parties (Democratic and Republican) , but just remember a few months ago the social revolution Bernie Sanders ignited. Gary Johnson reminded me of the importance of voting for the candidate you believe in for the future you want to live in. The collective power of people voting especially in Florida can radically change outcomes.
Jill Stein was the following speaker and at the forefront of her talk was the environment and jobs. Jill Stein advocated fervently for changing our heavy dependence on non-renewable sources of energy. Using a plan similar to the New Deal used in the mid 1930’s to create new jobs and steadily cut our usage of fossil fuels. Her message to the audience reminded me to not let politics make us forget about our home. Without a planet to live on, it doesn’t matter what your belief is. We must prioritize our environment.
Bill Clinton spoke after Jill Stein on behalf of Hilary Clinton. At the core of his speech was the idea of an American fabric quilt that weaves us all together. In a time when the country has become very divided, Bill talked about the similarities and bonds we all share. How we all are parts of masterpiece which makes America great. We cannot continue to close ourselves off to others and their opinions and expect to solve the great challenges our country faces. We must listen, we must respond, and we must vote.
Sean Reyes, the attorney general, spoke on behalf of Donald Trump. He opened up with stories of his childhood. He spoke about the dichotomy between politics in America vs Philippines. Most importantly, he reminded us the American Dream is still very much alive and the great opportunity America has to make our voices heard. We cannot allow the words complacency and neutral to be in our vocabulary. We must have the courage to be strong and chase after the future we want.
At the end of the day, how we vote shapes America. I urge you to get registered and vote. I urge you to get your family and friends registered and to the polling stations. If you need any help, the YESS Center will be registering people up to 30 days before the election and we are also looking for volunteers! We alone control the narrative of our country and always have. Go out to the polling stations. Go vote. Go get that sticker. Most importantly, make your voice heard today!
Article: Duc-Quy Nguyen / Photos: C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit www.facebook.com)
The Asian American Federation of Florida Inc. (AAFF), a statewide 501(c)(3), non-profit coalition that aims to foster unity and collaboration among the various Asian Pacific American organizations, announces their election of its new executive officers and board.
Incorporated in 1984, AAFF’s mission is to foster unity and empowerment by providing a forum for discussing issues of common interest to Asian Americans, and promoting and enhancing appreciation of the ancestral legacy of Asian Americans in Florida.
As we are approaching the presidential elections this November, AAFF executive board has stated that their goal for this year is to focus on voter registration in the Asian American communities throughout the State of Florida. AAFF seeks to educate the Asian American communities on the importance of the involvement in the political processes of the United States; whether at a local or national level. With an informed and cohesive Asian American community, AAFF seeks to increase representation and recognition in the political processes of the United States.