Lilian is not your average 15-year-old. While most girls her age spend their break at the beach, Lilian makes phone calls and canvasses with Organizing for America. Most days, she’s in the office from eleven to eight, dedicating her time to reelecting President Obama and other Democrats.
“I remember in 2008 when Obama said ‘things will get worse before they get better,’ and that quote really stuck with me,” Lilian said. “He touches into the middle class and doesn’t believe that people should have to suffer for their country. It’s one of the main reasons why I support him.”
As a Summer Organizer, Lilian recruited volunteers, bearing the heat and hills of Seattle to knock on doors, and using her culture to bring diversity to the campaign.
“There was this festival called Little Saigon, where I choreographed and preformed a Vietnamese hat dance. We [registered voters] there, and we’re working slowly to see what else we can do to organize the Vietnamese community.”
Lilian’s fluency in Vietnamese has also allowed her to bring the vote into even more homes across Seattle.
“The United States is so diverse, and the voices of the majority need to be heard. The president has an effect on everyone, and there isn’t anyone who doesn’t have something to say.”
The Democratic Party, and President Obama in particular, has given Lilian hope for a future where the nation’s diversity is embraced and celebrated.
“Obama is our first African-American president, and it’s a huge step forward. One day people won’t have to say that they aren’t the right race or the right age.”Lilian’s eventual goal is to go into international politics, and her position in the campaign is step in the right direction. For now, though, Lilian is embracing the task of organizing her community and putting all of her efforts into keeping our president in the office for another four years.
Elections aren’t won or lost on a national scale; they’re decided in our own communities, and Lilian’s actions remind us of this fact. It’s only by taking action, and by identifying the need and getting involved that we’ll see President Obama sworn in next January.