MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 1, 2012) — Hmong community members have come together in an expression of opposition to the proposed voter ID amendment, citing its negative impact on democratic participation.
Several opponents to the amendment gathered at the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent in September to share their views for the camera. Organizing Apprenticeship Project, working with Line Break Media, produced the linked video at http://bit.ly/SgpXtF.
Hmong Americans interviewed for the video reflected on their experiences as participants in democracy, and how the struggle to participate fully has been one fought by elders and continues today.
“Being an American citizen to me means that it doesn’t matter if someone is richer or poorer, if someone speaks English better, if someone is more educated. In that one moment [of voting] we are all equal,” said Pakou Hang. “When I think about the struggles that people have gone through, not only to vote but to get the right to vote, I just think about our grandparents and how we are the hopes and dreams of everything they sacrificed.”
They also recognized the implications of the proposed voter ID amendment for their community. “A voter ID amendment would also drive the Hmong community toward political extinction. Not being able to vote is like not having your voice, like literally being silenced,” said Liz Xiong.
The video is the third in a series that will tell the stories of multiple communities in Minnesota and their relationship to voting rights and democratic participation.
“We believe it is important to make these stories come to life and hold up the historical struggles and victories that different communities have faced in attaining access to democratic and political power,” said Vina Kay, Director of Research and Policy at OAP.
The Latino and Somali community videos were released last week. The remaining videos will be released in the next week as part of the larger Voices for Voting Rights project. This initiative of multiracial, multicultural organizations is focused on building community power, voice, and access at the polling booth and beyond.
All of the videos – from the African American, American Indian, Hmong, Latino, and Somali communities – will be screened at a community celebration on October 11 at the Parkway Theater.
For more information: visit www.oaproject.org and www.voicesforvotingrights.org.