By Helena Berbano
Filipino Americans, despite our long history of being in the United States and advocating on a variety of issues such as standing up for labor, have the reputation of being politically invisible. In fact, Asian Americans generally have the label of being “uncivic.”
Voting rates for Filipino Americans and AAPIs (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) also do not paint a civic picture. However, there is more nuance in voter participation if we look beyond the numbers. There is historically less outreach to our communities, limited language translation availability, and a variety of other factors such as the model minority myth.
As a voting advocate, I firmly believe everyone should cast their ballot in every election, but voting is only one way to be civically engaged.
My call-to-action for other @BOSFilipinos in #2k19 is to challenge the perception of Filipino Americans being “uncivic” by continuing to show up. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ways you can impact your community:
Support a local business. Civic duty isn’t simply political engagement and voting. It’s investing in your community. Check out Tanam in Somerville, founded by Filipina, Ellie Tiglao.
Go to a city council meeting. All politics is local. Our city council is hard at work making improvements every day, and we’re all invited to join in on the action.
Volunteer for a political campaign. Municipal elections are happening this Fall and then we’re gearing up for a presidential year. Not everyone has declared yet, but keep an eye out for local and presidential hopefuls announcing their candidacy.
Attend a grassroots group meeting. There are so many groups in Boston advocating for justice. Go check out Activist Calendar to see what’s going on!
Vote in the municipal election. I know you saw it coming. Please consider getting out and voting. There is significant drop off in non-presidential years, and local politics are just as important. Be sure to cast your ballot.
If you've got other ways you're civically engaged let us know in the comments!
We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.