Around 1:30 pm on Tuesday, September 28th, we stopped off at Asia Plaza on Payne Avenue where OCA Greater Cleveland was tabling for National Voter Registration Day.
We said hello to Ms. Lisa Wong, President of OCA Greater Cleveland, and Mr. Tony Louie, an OCA member, who were querying passer-byers to see if anyone wanted/needed to register to vote or change their voting locale.
Ms. Wong told us that even though the tabling had only started at 1pm and Asia Plaza was relatively quiet, she and Mr. Louie had already registered one voter who happened to be a young person who had only recently turned eighteen.
We conversed with Ms. Wong for a few minutes and learned that it was the goal of OCA to create a new culture of voting wherein new U.S. citizens and their children and grandchildren would see voting as both a privilege and a responsibility to be consistently practiced in elections pertaining to all levels of government.
On this matter, one must keep in mind that many newcomers have immigrated to the United States from countries where voters were targeted and/or harassed; thus, it is our duty to impress upon them that engagement in civic activity is a bastion of this society.
In addition to voter registration, Ms. Wong and Mr. Louie were also passing out information pertaining to the voter hotline which is 1-888-API-VOTE wherein callers can obtain bilingual assistance in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali.
Our conversation then turned to other items on the OCA table that included “Know Your Rights” cards that were available in quite a few languages as well as information about the hate incident reporting website at https://www.aapihatecrimes.org/
Ms. Wong also wanted us to know about upcoming “situational awareness workshops” wherein participants would acquire “the tools to be able to intervene as a bystander whenever they see or experience harassment.”
Before we departed, we expressed appreciation to Ms. Wong and Mr. Louie for taking time out of their day to take part in such an important enterprise.