Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Read this powerful story of a young woman getting out the immigrant vote:

Sixteen year old Sandy is getting out the vote so that other kids won’t have to go through what she did. When her parents were unable to get citizenship and were deported, she witnessed first hand the lack of respect and honesty our government can have when dealing with immigrants. When she learned that she could help empower immigrants and get their voices heard through their votes, she jumped at the chance. She’s spent the weeks leading up to this election going door-to-door in immigrant communities and communities of color. She’s encouraging infrequent voters from these underrepresented communities to cast their ballots and elect representation that respects their values and will deal with them honestly.

Sandy is working with Washington CAN! to turn out the immigrant vote in Seattle’s Eastside suburbs. “Not all people of color are respected, and they aren’t taken in mind because they aren’t like all Americans,” she says. Voting in numbers gets communities noticed, and Sandy is working hard to make sure that every immigrant than can vote does. “Immigrants are excluded, but this is a way to get included.” New immigrant communities and communities of color in cities like Bellevue, Kent and Renton have the opportunity this election to determine the outcome of a number of important races.

Sandy is part of a crew of young immigrants and youth of color for whom getting out the vote is more than just a job. “I want to inform people about immigrants and give respect to them,” she says. “They aren’t included, and they should be. They are important.”

A greater immigrant voice in politics will ensure that the issues confronting young people like Sandy will become more of a priority for elected officials. She’d like to see comprehensive immigration reform that will end the current enforcement-only approach that breaks up families. “I hope it actually makes a difference and stops them tearing people apart.”

So far, it’s making a huge difference. In the last month, Sandy and her crew have knocked on over 7,000 doors, and spoken with thousands of new and infrequent voters from underrepresented communities. The reception from immigrants and people of color who have long felt overlooked has been overwhelmingly positive. People are constantly telling Sandy how glad they are that she’s talking to them about why it’s important to vote. More importantly, the vast majority of people she speaks with agree that this election is their chance to be heard, and they are going to vote.

“People support us. It’s pretty awesome.”

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