How to celebrate democracy: puppies, live music and ramen

Democracy happens when people can participate.

 

In a time when the freedom to speak freely is in contention, we must protect our freedom to vote. We at APIAVote are committed to fulfilling this vision so that all eligible Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are ready to vote in every election, whether it is on the local, state or national level.

 

Asian American and Pacific Islander groups hosted voter registration drives as part of a national effort on National Voter Registration Day last Tuesday to ensure that AAPI voices are heard at the ballot box. Read below for a sample of stories from the field on how our community partners and Student Ambassadors brought people together through events with ramen, live music, and puppies.

 

 

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (Austin Chapter)

“APAPA's Austin Chapter sees National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) as a great opportunity to make our fellow citizens aware that voting is an important issue in our lives. And voting is not just important in our city, county or state, we need to see it as a national day of participation and a celebration of one of our most important rights as US citizens.

 

“We started to advertise this voter registration several weeks ago and were glad to see the NVRD posters everywhere on the Austin Community College Riverside campus when we arrived there on September 26th. We registered 21 people that day who were very excited to be part of NVRD, and reached 121 registrations for the week. All the support from national organizations and local communities has allowed us to reach more future voters and convince those who may not have cared about voting before to take an active part.”

 

 

Duke Asian Students Association | Duke University

“Duke Asian Students Association registered 386 voters for National Voter Registration Day 2017, in a tabling effort that lasted four days on the main student plaza and in front of the first-year dining hall. Our organization wrapped up the week with a Ramen & Registration event for the AAPI community, where we registered our last 29 voters for the week. We were surprised and delighted by the support we received from many other identity and political student organizations on campus, without whom this could not have happened. We could not have imagined a better start to our time with APIAVote, and are looking forward to new partnerships and initiatives in the year ahead!”

 

 

Asian Community Development Council

On National Voter Registration Day, we as the Asian Community Development Council hosted a Town Hall at the College of Southern Nevada with over 53 persons in attendance. This included community leaders, affiliate partners, and elected officials. We did voter registration at the College of Southern Nevada with For Our Future Nevada/For Nevada's Future, and completed 6 voter registration applications. Furthermore, we had a platform for the Clark County Election Department to discuss the new voting centers that will be in place for the upcoming election. We communicated to our community/national partners, such as: National Voter Registration Day 2017, APIAVote, Battle Born Progress, Mi Familia Vota, For Our Future Nevada, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, APIA One Voice on our efforts to register AAPIs in the community to vote.
 

Multicultural Engagement for Utah coalition

"National Voter Registration Day this year is the first event in Utah where diverse communities of color combined forces to promote voter registration, elevate Utah's ethnic voices and vote to make a difference. The program included several ethnic bands, cultural performances, speakers, and food trucks. Local people enjoyed the program and food while organizations from the Multicultural Engagement for Utah (ME4U) coalition registered people to vote. Leading up to the concert and on the day of, we registered 208 people.

 

"ME4U's NVRD event, 'Vote Hate Out' this year was held at the 'Peace Garden' park on purpose. It served as a vehicle for the ME4U coalition to further increase awareness, unify, engage and promote action by registering and getting people out to vote among ethnic communities of color in Utah. When it all boils down, voting is where we can make a difference in our local, state and national policies. Policies that can ultimately decrease and rid of various types of systemic racism that are root in producing health, education, economic and social inequities and disparities among communities of color and their families."

 

Minh-Triet Dao | California State University, Los Angeles

Social Justice Program Coordinator for the Cross Cultural Centers

“I celebrated NVRD by participating with my campus' ASI (student body government) and registered people to vote. It was a unique experience because there were multiple organizations who all had the same goal of registering people. I was tabling right by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. There, I met the LA County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Dean C. Logan) and his team, who are working on modernizing and updating voting technologies in the Los Angeles County.

 

“A personal accomplishment was that I tabled by myself, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and I got 19 voter registration forms. It was difficult because I was competing against other organizations who were out there doing the same thing, but I still managed to register people.”

 

Asian American Student Association and partners | Georgetown University

“Georgetown University’s Asian American Student Association partnered with a whole bunch of other student organizations, both cultural and political, to host a voter registration drive in front of our four freshman dorms and in a free speech area on campus. We registered over 200 voters, which we didn't expect at all. We even had a group of students lining up in front of one of the freshman dorm tables, waiting to get registered. A good amount of people were incredibly excited to vote!”

 

Asian American Student Initiative | College of William and Mary

“We held a giant event on campus called Dogs, Donuts and Democracy. We ordered 500 donuts to distribute and brought in 3 puppies from the local animal shelter so people would come by our booth and register. We got 127 voter registrations and 345 pledge to votes!”