On November 6, I will celebrate a special milestone: my first vote. Let’s help President Obama celebrate one too.
When I was 14, I had the privilege of watching President Obama’s inauguration in person. The energy of the 1.8 million people squeezed on the National Mall was explosive and contagious; passion and elation buzzed through the air and coursed through my veins. President Obama empowered us, replacing our fear with hope. I remember the magic—and I still believe in it.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a blue city in an even bluer state. When I was young, there was an “I Vote Democrat” bumper sticker slapped on my family’s refrigerator—so I have always identified as a Democrat.
But as I learned more about politics, I confirmed my beliefs as a female Chinese-American student align with those of President Obama and the Democratic Party. I decided to help President Obama win a second term.
As a woman, I support the President. Women have a strong ally in President Obama. He understands that each woman’s body is her own business. President Obama has fought tirelessly to protect women’s freedom to make their own health decisions, having openly defended Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, President Obama values women and believes they deserve to be paid the same amount as men for the same work. Currently, women earn 77 cents for each dollar made annually by men. To help combat this wage gap, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act nine days after taking office.
As the daughter of Chinese immigrants, I support the President. He understands the suffering that the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has endured throughout America’s history, and he celebrates our community’s contributions to the country. The year he took office, President Obama restored the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He has appointed an unprecedented three AAPIs to his Cabinet, and he has doubled the number of AAPI federal court judges. His actions allow AAPIs across the country to see themselves represented in their government, giving us hope and pride.
As a student, I support the President. Education is an investment in our country’s future, and our President recognizes that. The President is urging Congress to extend a 2007 law that would cut student loan rates to 3.4 percent. If lawmakers don’t pass an extension, those interest rates will double on July 1 and pile an additional $1,000 of debt on students. His investments in programs such as Head Start have given 21,000 AAPI children access to early education. His administration’s Race to the Top program strengthens schools for 27 percent of AAPI students in grades K–12, and his doubling the amount of funding for Pell Grants will make 40,000 additional Pell Grants available to AAPI college students.
Every person’s life is a string of milestones. President Obama makes milestones I’m looking forward to in my life—going to college, getting a job, buying a house—more attainable for all Americans. On November 6, I will celebrate a special milestone: my first vote. Let’s help President Obama celebrate one too.
Catherine Wang worked as a summer intern for the Democratic National Committee. She is from Los Angeles, California, and will attend Yale University this fall.