By Cam T. Ashling
Community activist

Why should Asian-Americans care about the U.S. Senate races in Georgia? The two U.S. Senate races in Georgia will be among the most important elections because Georgia is a key battleground state. In the first of two U.S. Senate races to be held on November 3, Democrat Jon Ossoff faces Republican Sen. David Perdue. Of more interest to Asian-Americans, in the second race, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces a Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, as well as 20 others, including Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is a well-respected pastor at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church) in Atlanta, running as a Democrat. It is almost certain that Loeffler and Collins will split the Republican vote, and the Democrats have a prime opportunity to flip Sen. Loeffler’s seat to “blue” (Democrat).

Recent remarks from Sen. Loeffler show that she is racist against Asian-Americans and is very unpopular with Georgians. It is now clear that Sen. Loeffler is only interested in desperately gaining the attention and support of both a racist and divisive President, who initially did not support her for her appointed U.S. Senate seat.

Trump was impeached in January and over 200,000 Americans would not have died during the pandemic if the Republican-led U.S. Senate had placed the health and welfare of Americans above their own party and voted against him as national security threat. America has over 7.5 million COVID-19 cases, and leads the world in cases and deaths. Unfortunately, Georgians are represented by two cowards in the U.S. Senate who will do whatever Trump wants done, but we can change this to fight COVID-19 and hate against Asian Americans!

If you care about affordable healthcare, being able to get healthcare insurance with a preexisting condition, or being able to stay on your parent’s healthcare plan, you will want to vote Democrat for Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff in both U.S. Senate races. If you want to stand up against white supremacy, you want to vote Democrat for Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff. We cannot ignore racism like we cannot ignore the need for healthcare for our community, protection for small businesses, and education for our children.

In her U.S. Senate race, Loeffler is trying very hard to be more racist and more outrageous than her Republican challenger (Collins). Loeffler recently tweeted “Remember: China gave this virus to our president Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. WE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.” Sen. Loeffler’s misinformation essentially calls for all Americans and Georgians to target Chinese-Americans and hold them accountable for giving COVID-19 to her dear leader Trump. You might say to yourself, I am not Chinese, I don’t care! The problem with Loeffler’s message is that many of her supporters, who are also Trump supporters think, “ALL Asians are Chinese. All Asian people caused this virus on America.” If you are not Chinese, don’t think that Loeffler’s calling COVID-19 the “China-virus” will protect you from experiencing racism.

The FBI has been warning against a rise of hate crimes against Asian-Americans because of Trump’s rhetoric as well as his supporters’ repeating and amplifying the hate in Trump’s remarks, for example, Loeffler’s recent tweet. Since the start of the pandemic, Stop AAPI Hate reported 2,583 incidents of racial discrimination against Asian-Americans, including men, women, and children, across 47 states and D.C. Most of these incidents involved verbal abuse, racial slurs and name calling. Asian-American women are experiencing racial discrimination at a rate of 2.4 times more than Asian-American men. This is mostly happening at places of business, such as restaurants, retail stores, parks, and other public locations.

Both Reverend Warnock (D) and Jon Ossoff (D) condemn the rising anti-Asian sentiments expressed by Pres. Trump, Sen. Loeffler, and their supporters. We cannot hate on China from across the ocean and at the same time, further hate and do harm to ourselves at home. We can change our national and state leadership, and make our voices heard. To avoid the lines on Election Day, please go early vote starting on October 12. Drop-off your absentee ballot at your county Dropbox and if you have to mail it back to the election office, do so before October 26 so mail can be delivered by November 3.

Please carefully check your absentee ballots: make sure you sign it like your driver license, check the oath box, and fill in the ovals completely with blue or black ink. If you made a request for your absentee ballot but you now want to vote in person, you can go vote in person and sign a statement on location to void your absentee ballot request. You have a right to bring someone to help you translate for voting. If you need help in different languages, call the Voter Protection Hotline at 888-730-5816.