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Asian Americans, including Fil-Ams, get busy for Clinton

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Relaxing at a sports bar after an evening of “phone banking” for Hillary Clinton, Asian American volunteers hold up the signs proclaiming their choice for the Nov. 8 elections. Holding “Filipino-Americans for Hillary” posters are community leaders Abbey Eusebio and Geri Aglipay. Standing on the right in red dress is Teresa Mah, the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly. PINOY

CHICAGO—Illinois is expected to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton who was born in Park Ridge, a suburb northwest of this city, and she is also way ahead of her main rival, Republican bet Donald Trump, in recent national polls.

But Asian Americans in the area are leaving nothing to chance. On the Oct. 19 night the much-loved Chicago Cubs were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers, a dozen Filipino American fans sacrificed by not watching their hometown baseball favorite. Instead, they joined volunteers of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) phone bank to call on voters to support Clinton.

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The AAPI phone bank was part of a national grassroots effort of the Clinton campaign that is occurring across the United States. It mobilizes the Asian American community to unite and help “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) on Election Day.

Geraldine “Geri” S. Aglipay, the Illinois lead coordinator for Filipino Americans for Hillary national council, said, “The initiative is aimed not only in Illinois, but more importantly in the battleground states where registered AAPI voters are the tipping point to help Clinton gain the electoral votes to win the presidential election.

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Calling other states

The Filipino American volunteers included Rudy Urian and Matthew de Leon of the Cook County Democratic Organization. They were joined by State Representative-elect Theresa Mah, who is the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly. That evening, they appealed to registered Asian American voters in Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, to support Clinton and make sure they vote on November 8.

Volunteers like Clarita Santos, who is employed by a top health insurance provider, reminded people to vote for Hillary Clinton. She encouraged them to vote early to avoid the lines on Election Day.

Community leader Abbey Eusebio made a pitch for Clinton’s plans to enact comprehensive immigration reform, make college more affordable and raise the minimum wage for a “fairer, equitable and inclusive economy.”

Geri Aglipay said, “The phone bank convenes Asian Americans groups, such as Filipino Americans, in one location to build community not only within our own ethnic groups, but moreover to strengthen pan-Asian collaboration in the grassroots movement for political change nationwide as we connect with one another.”        

Concern over pro-Trump Filipinos

Aglipay also expressed concerns about the latest National Asian American Survey (NAAS) survey                   showing Filipinos giving the highest level of support for Donald Trump among Asians.

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“It’s critical to reach out to those Filipinos to educate and persuade them on why Clinton would be a president in the best interests of not only Filipinos but of all Asian Americans,” said Aglipay.

Most older Filipino American Catholics voters are known to support Trump because of their worry that a Clinton presidency would see additional pro-choice justices in the Supreme Court.

Younger Filipino American voters have criticized their more conservative elders for circulating a false news item on the Internet claiming that Pope Francis is supporting Trump. They are also more open to support for Planned Parenthood.

Other issues are also a matter of contention for Asian Americans. “The racist and xenophobic comments from Trump about the Filipinos are divisive and serves to increase the likelihood of hate crimes and discrimination against immigrants, and communities of color,” added Aglipay.

The campaign coordinator noted that Clinton has recognized October as Filipino American History Month and praised the pivotal contribution of Filipino Americans in the labor rights movement.

Aside from the Filipino Americans for Hillary (FAFH), other groups who joined the phone bank were South Asians for Hillary (SAHILL), Muslim Americans for Hillary, Filipino American Democratic Organization of Cook County and Indo-American Democratic Organization.

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TAGS: “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV), Asian Americans for Clinton, campaigning for Clinton, Chicago Cubs, Cook County Democratic Organization, Donald Trump, Filipino Americans for Hillary (FAFH), Filipinos for Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Los Angeles Dodgers, State Representative-elect Theresa Mah
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