My Future Is in My Own Hands – A Teen’s Campaigning Experience

My Future Is in My Own Hands – A Teen’s Campaigning Experience

Cartoon by Bryan Lu - Precinct Walk(Editor’s note: The following article was written on 8/28/14 by a TOC teen volunteer Bryan Lu of Laguna Hills, Orange County, CA. He drew the above cartoon one day on his way back home after a precinct walk. He has volunteered for six Saturdays in the last two and half months)

            I assume that weekends spent phone banking and knocking on doors doesn’t sound ideal to your average teenager. The truth is, hardly anyone really wants to bother people and call strangers. But that raises the question of why anyone would volunteer to do such a thing. I believe that it is the responsibility of the individual to fight for himself. Of course, there are a few good souls willing to fight for others, fight for other communities, but even these people’s admirable efforts will have gone to waste without the community’s own effort. Our willingness to fight for our future is what determines our future. It sounds simple, but this principle was largely ignored due to the individual’s foolish belief that “only one vote” or “just one volunteer” doesn’t matter. But we all hold a lot of significance, and therefore every single person can be the last seed that tips the basket. This is especially true of The Orange Club; what was once just a collection of Asian parents who often times would have never even toyed with the notion of being politically involved became a caring and politically-active group of people who will work in their communities and step outside each of their comfort zones to make a difference for the future of their posterity and their country.
Cartoon by Bryan Lu - Phone Ops            My initial reason for phone banking was because my mom decided to drag me into it. At this point I only agreed because some of my friends were going. This proved to be a perspective-altering experience. We were phone banking, calling people to do a survey, for a Korean lady named Young Kim, who was running for state assembly. Over the next few hours, I learned about Young Kim and her campaign, and her views and beliefs. She’s a pretty accurate representation of the Asian communities and as far as I can tell, a real warm, genuine, and strong woman. I also learned that most people aren’t the number one fan of surveys. At all. AT ALL. I feel that it was actually an ice breaker of sorts in the phone banking room: “Yeah this lady just called me a manipulator.” “This guy’s pissed of that we woke him up at 11:30 in the morning.” Of course, there was the occasional person that took the survey, which was a relief to me. But this happened very very rarely. Of the 400 people we called, fewer than 30 took the entire survey. In fact, only about 50 people picked up the phone. I stayed for only two reasons. There was something that I believed in and was fighting for; my future is in my own hands. If I don’t go fight for myself, nobody else is going to. And it was pretty funny. What was originally something my mom made me do turned into something that I enjoyed and looked forward to.
image 5(Above from left: Shari, Bryan, Ziyi in AD65 Fullerton, CA on 8/23/14)

            The precinct walk was different. It was hot. It was sweaty. And it was scarier. Initially I didn’t want to knock on doors, because I was nervous about the person on the other side of the door. But eventually I became more comfortable. Not a single person that answered the door was angry or unfriendly. At one point, I was looking forward to the next door. Although precinct walking was a more exhaustive and nerve-racking experience, it helped me to further understand and learn the importance of what we were doing.
IMG_1457(Above from left: Jed and Bryan speaking with a voter at AD66 Torrance, CA for David Hadley on 8/2/14)

            Both of the experiences were enjoyable and interesting. I learned a lot and it opened a lot of new doors for me, ones which I didn’t even know existed before. I would definitely do it again and will do it again. I want more people can stand up and volunteer to make a difference and change their futures.

1CSPKDuCartoon by Shari - In This Together

This post was written by

Leave a Reply