Every vote counts … and Asian Americans need to make sure that theirs count as well. With one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States, you would think that Asian Americans have a significant voting bloc in U.S. elections. To the contrary, Asian Americans have had the lowest voter turnout in prior elections, both nationally and regionally. There are a lot of reasons why Asian Americans are underrepresented, the most relevant being the language and cultural barriers that make communication between The “model minority” and politicians difficult to navigate. Identity LA, an outdoor music festival in its second year celebrating Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific Heritage Month, wanted to make sure that those in attendance knew that their voice, and their votes, mattered.
“It’s truly inspiring to see so many thousands of Angelenos come together this weekend in celebration of our Asian Pacific American communities. Today’s celebration showcases our City’s diverse tapestry and reaffirms our commitment to the inclusion of all people.” -Council member David Ryu
The event was presented by Los Angeles Council member David Ryu, the City of Los Angeles, and International Secret Agents (ISA) and was a free, open-to-the-public event featuring live performances by internationally renowned like DEAN, Us the Duo and Giraffage among others. Amidst the stellar performances, City councilman David Ryu- who’s own election is living proof that when Asian Americans mobilize to vote, they truly have the power to elect the representatives who not only resemble them, but also speak on those issues the truly matter- made it a point to encourage the young men and women in the crowd to register to vote and to make their voices heard in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Councilman Ryu and The Far East Movement took some time during the festival to recognize several Asian American individuals and groups who are breaking out of the “docile” stereotype to have their voices heard through community and social activism.
- Awareness Through Arts & Entertainment Award – The Cast and Crew of the film “GOOK”
- Presented to a Group or Individual for Artistic Achievements that have Contributed to Positive Social + Community Change for the Asian Pacific American Community.
- Digital Pioneer Award: Jenn Im
- Presented to a Group or Individual for their Pioneering Contributions in Positively Elevating the Asian Pacific American Community through Digital Media.
- Activism Award: Taz Ahmed & Zahra Noorbakhsh of #GoodMuslimBadMuslim
- Presented to a Group or individual for their Contributions in Empowering the Asian Pacific American Community through Activism + Education.
- Community Growth Award: EPIC: Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
- Presented to a Non-Profit Organization for their work at Empowering the Asian Pacific American Community through Activism + Education.
- LA Youth Award: Alex Siv
- Presented to an LA Based Youth (18 or younger) for their work in Empowering the Asian Pacific American Community through Activism + Education.
The day’s festivities were positive and quite empowering, giving the youth in the audience a day filled with both first class entertainment and also a sense of purpose. We certainly hope that those who were (or will be) of age to vote by the time 2018’s mid-term elections roll around both register to vote and make informed decisions. The only thing that I would have done differently (provided it were legal to do so) would have been to make voter registration a prerequisite for admittance.
If you are a California resident and are at least 18years of age and haven’t already registered to vote, CLICK HERE.
Below are the artists that we were interested in checking out. Links to their posts will be embedded once they are posted and will have thoughts, photo galleries and video clips when available, so keep it locked here for updates!
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