Two participants in Monday’s Asian American “civil rights march and speak out” hand complaint forms to an official at the State House in Boston. A group of over 100 Asian men, women and children flocked to Beacon Hill Monday to call for Secretary of State William F. Galvin to allow the transliteration of candidates’ names from English to Mandarin on voting ballots in Chinese neighborhoods. (Photo courtesy of Shuya Ohno)
The rain did not stop them. Nor did the occasional sarcastic hoots and hollers from passers-by. Many of the Asian American voting rights advocates that marched on the State House Monday morning say they hope that, come November, not even Secretary of State William F. Galvin will stop them.
“We’re at the end of our ropes. We just want our equal right to vote,” said Lydia Lowe, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA).
Carrying signs bearing slogans like “I’m a Citizen, Protect My Voting Rights” and chanting in Cantonese about the importance of bilingual ballots, a group of over 100 Asian men, women and children flocked to Beacon Hill Monday for a “civil rights march and speak out” sponsored by the CPA, a Chinatown-based grassroots organization.
After heavy rains delayed the event’s start for nearly 45 minutes, the group marched from Chinatown through Boston Common, up the steps of the State House, and all the way to Galvin’s third-floor office. There, they planned to request a meeting with the secretary concerning his decision to deny fully bilingual ballots to local Chinese voters.
According to Lowe, they were told by Galvin’s staff that he was not in his office.
The demonstrators brought with them over 1,600 unanswered letters sent over the last year by voters frustrated with Galvin’s 2007 decision not to allow the transliteration of candidates’ names from English to Mandarin on voting ballots in communities with a high concentration of Chinese residents.
Last July, Galvin filed a challenge in federal court to a Justice Department agreement requiring that ballots be fully translated to protect the rights of Chinese-speaking voters.(p2)
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