As a teen falling short one year of the age requirement for this year’s election, I find my role more crucial than ever to encourage those fortunate enough to vote. It’s this idea of civic engagement that drove me to take on projects that allow my voice to be amplified among potential voters. Instead of opting out to participate in this year’s election due to my age, I turned to my own network instead to encourage those who could.
Recently, I hosted an event in partnership with NCAAT and Cha House Raleigh, a Tawainese-Inspired Boba Shop, to host a Social Media Discount Day offering free boba in exchange for social media traction and a tabling event to register voters just outside of the store. My position as a barista at Cha House Raleigh allowed me to touch base with a large audience of Asian Americans here in NC, while an integral part of my role as an intern is to connect the Asian American community to share NCAAT’s mission, so what better way to do that than through free boba?
I faced the challenge of a strict time-crunch, as the deadline to register to vote in North Carolina was this past October 9th. In order to boost the promotion of this event, I reached out to close friends, Asian student organizations at NC State University, and even the surrounding apartments near Cha House to help out and spread the word! This form of relational organizing encourages those we know to reach into their own networks in order to further our connections that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to achieve alone. I utilized fun and shareable social media graphics to my advantage, making it simple for my targeted audience of the Asian American youth to learn about our Discount Day and the opportunity to register as a voter for this year’s election.
This was my first true experience of tabling for voter registration, so I was nervous, yet excited to get out of my comfort zone. Not only did I assist as an NCAAT intern registering customers and passersby as voters, but I worked with my fellow baristas to communicate NCAAT’s mission of fostering civic engagement among the AAPI population to Cha House customers. We saw huge success in this event. By the end of the day, we successfully registered a large number of potential voters that otherwise may not have participated in this year’s election, as well as boosted our social media presence among Cha House customers. Through this event, I learned the valuable skills of interpersonal communication in relation to events targeting a large population, such as the AAPI community here in North Carolina.
I highly encourage each and every one of you to reach out to your own community, whether it be your friends, family, neighbors, work associates, or even local businesses in your area to make sure that everyone is getting the opportunity to properly exercise their civic responsibilities. In my case, age did not stop me from engaging in this type of work, and I made sure of that by translating my passion for encouraging the AAPI vote in this year’s election through my event with Cha House and NCAAT. Despite the challenges we are facing this year, we can each do our small part in ensuring that all of our voices are heard during these times. If you’re looking for ways to get involved with NCAAT, join us this Thursday, October 29th for our “Ghoul Down to Vote” Text Banking now! Sign up here: ncaat.vote/ghouldown