“If we weren’t at the table, we would be on the menu,” said senior Parker Mei.
As the 2020 November election rolls around, Americans will either be voting on the ballot box or voting by mail. This year’s election has become more than another vote but an important symbol for the future of America. As the representatives for a generation that will decide the future of America, the Social Advocacy Society created by seniors, Kelly Zhang, Parker Mei, Jasmine Fu, Julia Jiang, and Yongyin Huang see this time as an important outlet for students to grow their knowledge about civic duties.
Zhang is an officer from the newly formed Social Advocacy Society, she personally wanted to create a club in order to inform students about the importance of civic engagement. As a second generation Chinese citizen in America. Current events like the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) and the discriminatory attacks on Asian minorities in the wake of the coronavirus, inspired her to find the importance of voicing her opinion.
“I realized how important civic engagement is for us because I realized that the government and the policies that they create have a huge impact on us as students and as citizens,” Zhang said. “I really want college tuition to go down and also I find that environmental issues right now to be really important due to current events like the coronavirus and hurricanes.”
Mei has been affiliated in the political realm for a while, he understands that civic engagement is something that is a controversial topic but is also an important matter that all students could benefit from. He wants to create a platform that educates students on civic engagement so they can make well informed choices.
“My Chinese side of the family lives in San Francisco,” said fellow officer Mei. “They live in a tight knit community, but they realized how important politics is because their community had been stepped on over and over again. The [San Francisco] community had been quarantined unnecessarily in the past and they have been un-proportionally arrested. After the occurrence of these events, they realized that the only way to get their voices heard is if they stand up like talking to representatives and going out to vote.”
Fu, also an officer in the new club, is first generation a chinese immigrant that recently got her citizenship. Fu wants to use the club to create a safe community for people to voice their opinion.
“The reason why I want to be civically engaged is because I know within my community, I see that a lot of immigrants like me would become citizens but they never use their power as citizens,” senior officer Fu said. “Seeing that occurring, I don’t like how they don’t use their voices. I want them to speak up about their own causes. As someone part of the future generation, I know that the younger generation has a lot of ideas and opinions. I feel like they could be well represented but they don’t stand up for their own causes”
Jiang is an officer at Social Advocacy Society. She wants to remind people that voting is not a privilege, it’s a duty because the choice of voting came from the fighting and struggles of millions before the current generations.
“We have quite a few projects lined up for our club,” said officer Jiang. “I think it’s really important to understand our roots. We need to do proper research and understand the historical context of our history. By understanding what happened in the past we can use it to apply it to our current self. We can use our knowledge to educate people on how to navigate through today by looking at past examples.”