SwirlNYC Launches New Advocacy Initiatives to Increase Voter Participation in Communities of Color in the NYC Area



September 9, 2004

Contact: Jamila Wignot or Ki Mae Heussner
(212) 561-1773

SwirlNYC Launches New Advocacy Initiatives to Increase Voter
Participation in Communities of Color in the New York City Area

NEW YORK – Recognizing the need to break down the institutional barriers that prevent many Americans in communities of color from becoming politically engaged and active, this election season, SwirlNYC, the New York City chapter of Swirl, Inc., is launching an array of new initiatives to increase voter participation and encourage civic engagement in communities of color across the country.

In the 2000 presidential election, 48.4% of voting-age citizens of color voted compared to 61% of their white counterparts.* With the goal of bringing more people of color to the polls this November, for the next two months, SwirlNYC will be actively involved in voter education and voter registration efforts that target African-American, Asian and Latino communities. Efforts include:

  • Coordinating with the Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF) “Children Can’t Vote. You Can.” non-partisan voter registration drive, Chinatown Voter Education Alliance (CVEA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and
    Education Fund (AALDEF) to register voters in African-American, Asian and Latino communities in the New York City area. SwirlNYC’s goal is to register 300 voters.
  • Creating voter education web content for the Swirl, Inc. website .
  • Mobilizing Swirl, Inc. members across the country to register, to vote, and to encourage and organize their family and friends to increase voter participation and awareness.

As an organization committed to promoting understanding and dialogue among diverse racial groups, Swirl is well-positioned to help make the political process more accessible to traditionally under-represented
communities of color. especially given the debacle in Florida and recent attempts to suppress the African-American vote in certain key states, it is important that we remember that the right to vote and have one’s vote accurately and fairly counted is a fundamental American right. we need to practice inclusive politics and not allow partisan politics to be the factor that suppresses or elevates the “minority vote.”
– Jen Chau,
Founder/Executive Director, Swirl, Inc.

For more information or to join Swirl, Inc.’s voter registration efforts, visit http://swirlinc.org/issues.htm, email VOTE@swirlinc.org, or contact Jamila Wignot or Ki Mae Heussner at 212.561.1773.

SWIRL, INC. aims to unite the mixed community by providing support to mixed families, mixed individuals, transracial adoptees, and inter-racial/cultural couples. Through various social events, volunteer outreach, book clubs, film screenings, and educational discussions, Swirl is a meeting place for members of the mixed community to celebrate and explore their heritages. Swirl has seven chapters across the United States and is actively collaborating with like-minded organizations across the country. Swirl, Inc. was founded in February 2000 and SwirlNYC is the founding chapter.

The mission of the CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND (CDF) is to Leave No Child Behind(r) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. CDF pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment before they get sick or into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/pressreleases/040713.asp CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations.

Chinatown Voter Education Alliance (CVEA), founded in 1983, is a non-partisan, not-for profit organization. Members consist of individuals and 27 organizational members, including social and legal service agencies, cultural and religious institutions, and business and civic organizations. The mission of Chinatown Voter Education Alliance is to build the Chinese American community both through educating, organizing and promoting involvement in the electoral and governance processes and through advocating for social equity.

Founded in 1974, the ASIAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND (AALDEF) is the first legal rights organization on the East Coast serving Asian Americans. AALDEF was founded by a group of lawyers, law students and community activists who believed that the law should be used as a tool to achieve social and economic justice for Asian Americans and all Americans. AALDEF’s aim is to build an informed and active Asian America that is involved in the civic life of this country. Current projects include voter rights, combating anti-Asian violence, redress for Japanese Americans, fighting sweatshops, defending the rights of immigrants and low-income tenants and affirmative action programs.

*The U.S. Census Bureau


This entry also posted at tmanewsletter and Taking The Gloves Off.

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