On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to eat lunch at the cafeteria of an elementary school located about a mile from the Gwinnett Arena. Looking around at the faces I saw, I was amazed at the number of Asian children enrolled at the school. The 2010 census listed 85,792 people of Asian ethnicity in the county. At 10.6% of the total population, it’s the most in Georgia. Fulton follows with 5.6%, DeKalb with 5.1% and Cobb with 4.5%.
Looking at voting patterns, it’s a slightly different story. Comparing the number of Asian voters in the 2012 general election with the number of active voters in the Secretary of State’s database this fall, only 5.1% of Asian Gwinnettians are registered to vote. The numbers are even lower in the other metro counties, at about 2%.
Of course, the difference can be accounted for by assuming that many of the Asians counted in the census are children, or are non-citizens. But, it’s pretty safe to say that by 2030 and beyond, voters of Asian descent will be a fairly powerful political force in Georgia.
And that brings us to the Election Dinner Celebration sponsored by the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center that will be held on Tuesday, December 10th starting at 6 PM at I Luv Pho #3, 5145 Buford Highway (the old Pung Mie Restaurant), in Doraville. Highlighting the event will be speeches by State Rep. B.J Pak (R-Gwinnett), the first Korean American Georgia House Representative, Judge Carla Wong McMillan, the first Asian American Appellate Judge in Georgia and Hang Tran, recently elected to the Morrow City Council as the first Vietnamese American city councilwoman in Georgia.
Also speaking will be a number of Asian American candidates for office, including Eugene Yu, who is running to replace Saxby Chambliss in the Senate, and several other Asian Americans who made bids for office in 2013.
According to Helen Kim Ho, AALAC’s Executive Director,
The historic number of Asian Americans running for office, and the increasing interest and number of Asians voting and participating in the political process, is a sign of our growing strength and power. We want to invite all of our community members to this dinner celebration where they will have a chance to meet with these elected officials and candidates, and learn how we can continue to build power for our children, businesses and communities.
Admission to the event is free, but prospective attendees need to RSVP to Alice Kim at 404-585-8446.