This week Programs Manager Kathryn Quintin took a short break to talk about her ongoing whirlwind tour to college campuses where APIAVote has #WeTheAAPI ambassadors.
Quintin visited Rutgers University, Amherst College, Yale University, and College of William and Mary in March to meet with students. She was a featured speaker at each host student organization’s general body meeting to present on why young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders should vote.
Quintin identified one major issue facing student leaders at colleges and universities that she hopes to address at her site visits: How do we support students to build their organization and membership? And how can they increase capacity for civic engagement activities?
At Rutgers University in New Jersey, Quintin made a call-to-action on why representation matters: “If we don’t make our voices, who will?” She explained that overall, rich white elder citizens vote at much higher rates, which is not reflective of the the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
While it is important to talk about issues like gun violence and immigration with Congressmembers, Quintin said that they will not care unless you challenge their “rice bowls” by voting, which is a metaphor for their ability to hold their seats in Congress.
When organizers make one-on-one contact, potential voters often ask, “why should I vote?” Quintin ran through a scenario with Amherst College students on how to convince an apathetic person to vote.
During her site visit, she learned how Asian American students are advocating for the creation of an Asian American studies department, which will require hiring of faculty and building space. Students also discussed how they plan to leverage collective power to create space for Asian American students on campus.
East Coast Asian American Student Union
Rounding out this list, Quintin also attended the East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference as Executive Director at Cornell University, and represented APIAVote while hosting a workshop on building student power.
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