Last week’s election was a test of our democracy, and ultimately the will of the people prevailed. Record numbers of voters, and especially people of color, turned out to reject the demonization and disenfranchisement of immigrants and communities of color that have intensified over the past four years. Asian Americans throughout the country were part of this massive voter mobilization, and our growing electoral participation indicates that we can and should engage ourselves in coalitions to advance progressive change.
And yet we can’t ignore the fact that 72 million voted for a continuation of the Trump administration– either in spite of or because of Trump’s racist, misogynistic, and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. All of us must contend with the role of disinformation and fear-mongering in sowing bigoted division and discord in our political discourse. At CAA, our initiative to provide community members with accurate and real-time information via Chinese-language social media outreach effectively reached tens of thousands of voters in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and demonstrated the need for further investments of this kind in vulnerable communities like ours.
In local and state ballot measures, there were wins and setbacks. In San Francisco, we made progress by authorizing non-citizens to serve on local commissions, funding public spaces and affordable housing, and enacting several progressive revenue measures. In California, we successfully protected important criminal justice reforms and expanded voting rights for the formerly incarcerated, but were disappointed in the results on initiatives related to worker and tenant protections, and the restoration of affirmative action.
History teaches us that elections are critical turning points, where hope and aspiration converge around collective action and change. It also teaches us that our fight for social justice does not begin or end at the ballot box. And so as we take stock of the current political landscape, we realize much has changed and much remains the same.
Our determination to fight for civil rights and multiracial democracy is renewed, as is our gratitude for the privilege to stand with you for justice.
Co-Executive Directors Cynthia Choi & Vincent Pan