TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


November 7, 2016

Alumni Watch: Former Rams urge citizens to vote

Class of 2008 alumnus Catherine Fanchiang stares in disbelief at the amount of black, shiny ink that covers her sore hand. As she stretches her exhausted hands, the scratching sound of pens on crisp paper fill the room, and class of 2004 alumni Alice Fanchiang and Gennia Cui are still tirelessly writing.

Nov. 8 is not only a big day for the nation, but also for the Fanchiangs and Cui, who are volunteers at Durham Women Vote, a primarily Democratic organization. Cui has volunteered at polling stations and has gone door-to-door canvassing in the past. After hearing about the organization online, she decided to volunteer with a couple of friends.

This September, they joined the organization to hand write letters encouraging women from the age of 18 to 67 to vote Democratic. The letters are sent to women who are registered to vote, but do not generally take the time to participate in elections.

“I decided to do this because we felt like this election is very important,” C. Fanchiang said. “All elections are important, but this one is just a bit scary. The fact that Donald Trump is the Republican party candidate is insane, so we felt like we had to do something, even if it was something small.”

Their four years at TCHS have impacted their political decisions and life greatly, since they joined various clubs and were a part of advanced English classes. Since C. Fanchiang joined Junior State of America, she learned more about the election process and politics. Their involvement in clubs such as JSA and the influence from their teachers have allowed them to form their own unique opinions about politics throughout the four years. Although they have completed their mandatory 100 volunteer hours, the Fanchiangs and Cui have continued to volunteer even after graduating.

“My freshman year was an election year, so my English teacher made us watch and take notes on all the debates,” C. Fanchiang said. ” It helped me to actually pay attention and research more about the candidates and their policies at the time. It made me care more about politics.”

The three had a writing party with a few other friends, during which they brainstormed ways to write to the women without sounding rude and commanding. They kept the letters short and sweet, explaining why voting matters. Their goal was to write in an encouraging and understanding tone, and not to drive anyone away from voting.

Each letter consists of a personal, handwritten letter, and a blue sheet that informs women of the Democrats they can vote for in their counties. Women are then allowed to bring the sheet with them to the polls.

“I think it’s important to for young people, especially young minorities, to be visible participants in the election process,” Cui said. “I wanted to feel like I had at least a small influence on getting other women to voice their opinions. It takes more than just sharing and liking things on social media to influence the outcome of an election.”

Despite their cramped hands and the tiresome work, their goal was to encourage people to vote this November and to actually research the presidential candidates and their policies. They focused on writing to women in North Carolina, a swing state, where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have an equal chance of winning.

“I’m not usually a person who gets that involved in politics, but the combination of fear and excitement has moved me to try to be more involved this time around,” A. Fanchiang said. “I think volunteering here shows that if you want to help or get involved, there are so many different avenues to participate in the election.”

In four years, the Fanchiangs and Cui hope to volunteer once again for the organization, if they feel as strongly about the next election as they do now. The avid volunteers strongly encourage men and women to head to the polls on Tuesday, because every vote matters.



About the Author

Emily Hsu


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