Asian American and Pacific Islanders voted in record numbers last November, which experts said was fueled in part by the pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric.
Now, ahead of next week's mayoral and City Council primaries in New York City, community leaders say outrage over anti-Asian racism and excitement about the historic bids of Andrew Yang and other Asian American candidates could similarly boost the group’s participation in local elections.
“People are starting to understand that the next step to directing your energy against anti-Asian hate is to vote and talk to elected officials,” Christine Chen, executive director of the national civic engagement organization APIAVote, told NBC Asian America. “They’re the ones who are going to resource mental health capabilities. They’re the ones who can help incorporate Asian American history into the K-12 curriculum.”
The rise in bias incidents over the past year has “incited more interest about how policy can play a role in keeping our community members safe,” said Sandra Choi, civic participation manager at the MinKwon Center for Community Action, a Flushing-based grassroots group that serves working-class Korean and Asian communities.
More Asian American voters have been asking how different levels of government affect their quality of life, she said, and how candidates plan on addressing anti-Asian violence and improving public safety in their neighborhoods.
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