Janelle Wong presents at Asian American heritage observance opening


The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute organized a lecture about Asian American politics in Gentry 131 on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. They invited Janette Wong from Asian American student program, university of Maryland to address a speech about race and the future of Asian American politics. (Yuwei Zhao/The Daily Campus)

On Oct. 11 professor of American studies and the director of the Asian American studies programs at the University of Maryland, Janelle Wong, gave a presentation on race and the future of American politics.

Her presentation highlighted the lack of Asian-American political mobilization and affirmative action. The significance in the Asian-American voice was supported by data included by Professor Wong. For example, only 56 percent of Asian-Americans were registered to vote in 2012. Today, Asian-Americans ages 15 to 25 have the highest level of online activity, despite the fact that their online engagement in political activity is the lowest out of all ethnic groups.

As the November election approaches, an emphasis has been put on the lack of awareness about issues surrounding Asian-Americans, and how it is the youth’s responsibility to voice their concerns.

“Mexican migration is declining, Asian-Americans are the fastest growing immigrant (group) in the U.S., yet politicians rarely talk on Asian-American immigrants,” Wong said.

Following Professor Wong’s presentation, questions from the audience were taken and a panel was held. The panel included Connecticut State Senate Candidate Arlene Avery, assistant professor in political science and Asian-American studies at UConn Fred Lee and a member of the Asian Pacific Affairs Commission of Equity and Opportunity.

An audience member asked, “what the panel believes to be the number one issue Asian-Americans currently face?” Avery said, access to healthcare while Lee stated that Asian discrimination, minority stereotypes and political identity are the biggest issues.

“What we see from data is that young Asian-Americans are not utilizing social media for politics; bottom line is they should step up and use it (for politics),” Wong said.

“Register to vote, look at platforms and decide for yourself, be an activist and be a part of the larger vision,” said Angela Rola, director of the Asian-American Cultural Center.

First-semester student Corona Zhang said that the event was eye opening.

“(This) was the first time I heard about the significance of being politically active,” said Zhang.

The Asian-American Cultural Center (AsACC) will have another event on Oct. 27 in the Student Union Theater where the author of “American Born Chinese” Gene Luen Yang will speak.

Sharon Sorto is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at sharon.sorto@uconn.edu.

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