Northwest Asian Weekly
On Aug. 12, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in Washington State and throughout the nation gathered to take part in a webcast of a Presidential Election Forum taking place in front of a live audience of over 3,000 AAPI community members, including journalists, community leaders, business leaders and elected officials in Las Vegas. The event marked the first time that presidential candidates, or representatives from their campaigns, have addressed the AAPI community in a national forum during the election season.
In Washington State and in over 12 languages, more than 500 AAPIs gathered at community centers to watch the live cast, including in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District and at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) in Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Additional watch parties were held in Spokane, Yakima, and Tacoma.
While all presidential nominees were invited to speak in Las Vegas, only Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein participated in person. Hillary Clinton was represented by President Bill Clinton. Donald Trump was represented by Sean Reyes, the Attorney General of Utah.
Although the overwhelming demand for live streaming across the country caused many viewing parties to experience technical glitches, at ACRS, Executive Director Diane Narasaki took the opportunity to review candidate policy positions with community members on issues such as strengthening hate crime laws, banning Muslims from the U.S., and creating a path to citizenship and family reunification through comprehensive immigration reform.
“The viewing parties are just one example of our intensive voter education efforts over the last two years; and the forum is only one day among decades of advocacy on the issues that matter most to AAPIs. Our community is building a culture of engagement in our democracy for generations to come; in the languages we speak, through people we trust and in places we gather. Today, we celebrate the strength of our own voices as we mobilize for November and beyond,” said Narasaki.
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