Although we are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., studies show that Asian Americans are the least likely to be contacted by political parties. Additionally, studies have shown that some Asian Americans choose not to vote because of their limited English proficiency.
Well Chenyi Pan — who just gained her U.S. citizenship this past September — did not let any of those factors stand in the way of her civic duty to vote. In fact, Pan spent quite a bit of time preparing to vote in her very first U.S. election.
At the age of 97.
Pan, who spent most of her life in China as a physics teacher and middle school vice-principal, came to the U.S. to be reunited with her children in September 2009 after the death of her husband.
She quickly applied for her citizenship and anxiously waited to be part of a country which has shaped very deep memories for her. Pan claims she can still remember American pilots dropping boxes of supplies from planes into her village during World War II.
“If I become a citizen of the U.S., I want to be a good citizen and to follow the democratic way,” Pan said in an interview back in October. “Because the U.S. is the best country in the world, if I become a member of this country I want to do all I can to continue to help this country.”
In an effort to make an informed decision, Pan asked her daughter Ni to educate her about possible options. Although she felt both parties were good, she agreed more with the Democratic Party.
Regardless of which party Pan ended up voting for, you can bet that she took her decisions seriously. After all, Pan understood the significance of her vote.
“American elections are not just about the U.S.,” she said. “They’re about the world.”
Feature image courtesy of Jacob Hilsabeck, Daily News.