By Cam Ashling, small business owner, Gwinnett native and Chair of the Asian American Action Fund – GA Chapter
Asian Americans in Georgia are poised to be the deciding vote in our upcoming December 6th runoff election between sitting Senator Raphael Warnock (a reverend) and Herschel Walker (a celebrity UGA football player, endorsed by Trump). We are and can continue to be the deciding vote that enshrines democracy and upholds American ideals: fairness and opportunity for all to thrive. That is why I am supporting Senator Warnock – a man who has followed the same path that Martin Luther King, Jr. carved. Reverend Warnock is the youngest pastor to preside at MLK Jr’s church, and seeks the same ideals of justice and fairness that Dr. King did. The work of Dr. King paved the way for Asian Americans fighting for our own civil rights in America, to have our own piece of the American Dream that we have worked so hard for generation after generation.
“When we say the Black church, we have never meant anything racially exclusive by that. The Black church is the antislavery church. It is an independent Christian witness that literally emerged fighting for freedom and insisting that the gospel is about equality, justice and inclusive humanity.” Raphael Warnock
I hold these values of freedom and opportunity dearly as a refugee who came from South Vietnam at the tender age of eight. Fleeing from a war-torn country, one where my parents and grandparents were pitted against neighbors and family members, I look at our increasingly polarized state and seek to support pillars of democracy and champions of voting rights. There is no voting in Communist Vietnam, no women’s rights, no healthcare rights, no freedom of the press, no social safety net for the elders or children in poverty, and no small business loan programs to get people off the ground for economic success. The ability to vote and the ability to create our own American Dream is worth fighting for again -worth voting for AGAIN by Dec 6th.
“Voting rights are preservative of all other rights.” Raphael Warnock
Senator Warnock is that champion for our families and most vulnerable (seniors and children.)
“We must all work together if we're going to solve the nation's maternal health crisis, and Democrats and Republicans agree that helping ensure mothers and babies are healthy and whole keeps our families strong and helps our communities thrive.” Raphael Warnock
He has pushed for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and fought for Asian American voices and votes to be counted and not discarded due to minor differences such as including or not a simple hyphen or a space in our Asian names. In fact, his very first speech on the Senate floor was all about voting rights and equality, and he presided over the funeral of our beloved, late Congressman.
“I was John Lewis's pastor, but he was my mentor.” Raphael Warnock
He fought and ensured that elderly on Medicare received a $35/ month cap on insulin so that our grandparents didn’t have to pick between having diabetes and eating.
“In 2017, long before I ran for the Senate, I was arrested at the U.S. Capitol while protesting for expanded access to health care. And as a man of faith, I was fighting long before then to get Georgians the health care they deserve because I believe healthcare is a human right.” Raphael Warnock
He understands what it’s like to grow up hardscrabble because his parents struggled, the same way many of us did. His father Jonathan served in the army during World War II, where he learned to be an auto mechanic. Warnock knows firsthand the struggles of veterans returning to the workforce, so he secured a $2.5 million grant to help them do so. He knows what it’s like to be food insecure. This is why Warnock created a $28.6 Billion dollar grant to help restaurants survive during the pandemic. In the Atlanta metropolitan region alone, there are over 13,000 Asian American owned businesses, including many mom and pop cafes. As a fellow small business owner, Senator Warnock understands the importance of hard work and a level playing field. This is why he voted for the American Rescue Plan which provides almost $182 million of federal funds to help our beloved Gwinnett County families get back on our feet during the pandemic. It has not been easy with global inflation from Covid but we are building back better.
“We have to repair our country's infrastructure, but we also have to protect and repair the infrastructure of our democracy. It's not either or, it's both and.” Raphael Warnock
Make a plan to vote now! Go to www.Iwillvote.com to early vote RIGHT AFTER Thanksgiving. The final US Senate runoff election is Tuesday, December 6th. Asian American voters will make election history again for Georgia! I believe in you and I believe in our community to make democracy work for all of us with Reverend Warnock as our US Senator for six more years.
Opinions expressed in this article strictly are of the author. It does not reflect the views or works of Georgia Asian Times.