Why your vote matters

Debut Director of Systems at NAPAWF discusses the state of Asian American and Pacific Island women in the United States with an emphasis on voting and why it should matter. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The Deputy Director of Systems and Sustainability at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Leng Leng Chancey, spoke at the Student Union Theater Tuesday evening about why voting matters.

Sponsored by Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., the Asian American Cultural Center and The Women's Center, Chancey spoke her advocacy for women’s reproductive rights and justice, immigration policy and social justice for Asian American and Pacific Island people, or AAPI. Chancey told those in attendance stories about her experience in her line of work and how a vote affects how she advocates.

To this end she told a story to those in attendance about a woman and her husband. The woman found out she had stage three breast cancer. According to Chancey, preexisting legislation kept the woman from seeking emergency health Medicaid. Chancey said that it shouldn’t have been a problem, except that there is a particular clause with green cards that specifically states that someone has to have had it for five years in order to receive the finances for emergency health Medicaid. The woman was 2 months away from those five years.

For Chancey, voting is the way by which changes in green card policy can happen, and since this instance, Chancey and the NAPAWF have been trying to push the “Heal Act,” which would eliminate this five year period. They are still trying to get the “Heal Act” adopted after twenty years of doing so.

“As a college student, students really don’t have initiatives to vote when it comes to numbers. We are very low in the polls, however that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect us. It affects us just as anyone else, making it important for us to go out and vote to have our voices heard,” said Fudi Xu, a fourth-semester finance major.

After Chancey spoke, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions. One student asked about how to inform people about political issues. Chancey said to “talk about politics in the house. My whole family talks about politics, including my 11 and 15-year-olds. With Thanksgiving coming up I encourage people to have those conversations with their families, in order to make big changes happen, you have to start small somewhere.”

According to Chancey, voting has been the key to stopping legislation surrounding Sex Selective Abortion, which was introduced in Connecticut and at least 15 states. For Chancey, voting and advocacy is what keeps that legislation out every time it appears on a State Senate floor.

“Voting matters because it gives you a voice and a face nationwide. You may think that you’re just one person and that your vote doesn’t really matter, but people need to understand that it starts with you and every person needs that sentiment in order to make change. If you want to be a part of something bigger it has to start with you,” said Ken Fung, a fourth-semester computer science and engineering major.


Matthew Gilbert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.gilbert@uconn.edu.