Stand Up

Why We're Voting: Issue 01

Members of The Standard staff share their most personal and important ballot issues, and what's powering them towards the polls for this monumental election.
Why are you voting?

It seems like a simple question, but if we've learned anything over these past four years, it's that our country's voting process is complicated, disjointed, and at times incredibly inaccessible. But with a monumental election just one month away, we need to fix what's broken, rally together, and head towards the polls unified and relentless. What empowers that strength is a true and authentic reason for voting. Of course, this includes the key ballot issues focused on racial equality, climate change and gun control, to just name a few, but equally important are those nuanced, personal reasons for casting a ballot. Everything is more effective when there's some heart behind it.

Throughout the weeks ahead, all uniformed team members will be wearing these "I'm Voting Because ___" shirts, to raise voting awareness and engagement for our guests, visitors, and surrounding community. We asked some of our team members what's powering them towards the polls this year, and what voting in America means to them, their families, and their future. Read through below. 
Michelle Rosado
Finance Manager, The Standard, East Village
Why are you voting?
Definitely voting this year because I don't agree with the president we have currently. Last time I voted was about 5 years ago, or more. Not into political views, but who cannot be in 2020? This year has been interesting, [and makes me feel] like standing in the elevator of the Grace Building and watching the towers come down on September 11th. [I've been in a] state of shock. That’s how I feel about what's going on. And just the disrespect on national TV. What happened to our morals?

What does this historical election mean to you personally? How about to your family?
It's our social responsibility to vote. If we stay home, nothing happens, so I’m going to do something. I feel like I have to do it. It’s affecting everyone in every little aspect. If not your family, it's a neighbor. We have a president who didn’t take COVID as seriously when he needed to and look what happened. 

Which issues are most important to you?
Racism. Police brutality.

Anything else you want to include or say about this year’s election and the importance of voting in general?
Get President Trump out of the White House.
Shirley Lu
Executive Assistant, The Standard, High Line
Why are you voting? Explain what's written on your shirt. 
INACTION KILLS. Not taking action means there will be no progress. About 40% of eligible voters did NOT cast their vote in 2016. For a democracy to work in favor of the people, the people need to use their right to vote for what they believe in and who they believe in, or whatever is the lesser evil. We’ve seen how lack of strong, or competent, leadership has led to lives lost, many of which are still lacking just reparations. We need a leader who won’t just standby on issues that matter. We need someone who will take action and enforce accountability for the injustices that take place every day in our broken country.
What does this historical election mean to you personally? How about to your family?
My parents immigrated to the U.S. from China in 1996, and I count myself fortunate that they were able to obtain citizenship. My mother is a rightful citizen of the U.S., yet she still believes the system is not for her. She keeps her head down, just trying to get by unnoticed because she is afraid she’ll be penalized if attention is drawn to her. For years she did not have health insurance; she would use home remedies to recover from illness. She was making minimum wage prior to the pandemic, which already was barely enough for her to cover rent, and it took months for her unemployment benefits to kick in when she was laid off. A racist leader in office exacerbated her sentiments of alienation, especially when he spread messages of hate and unfounded criticism about her homeland and people from her homeland.
As the series of events from the pandemic in March unfolded here in NYC, I myself was afraid to continue riding the subway to work as I had seen graphic videos of unprovoked Asians being senselessly attacked due to the spreading xenophobia. To me, this election would mean the difference between rightfully having a place in this country, and being silenced.
Which issues are most important to you?
A right to life. This includes: Black Lives Matter - accountability for injustices caused to black Americans. Racial equity and justice – destroying racial injustices and pushing for a system that encourages upward mobility. Pandemic management – enforcing policies that would minimize the death toll from COVID-19, and providing accessible healthcare. Ending gun violence – restricting access to weapons. Immigration policy – humane case management and protecting Dreamers as we are a nation of immigrants. LGBTQ Rights – acknowledgement of individuals as rightful citizens and accessibility to healthcare. Climate change – it’s real.
Anything else you want to include or say about this year’s election and the importance of voting?
 There is no stronger sense of urgency that we should have knowing what has happened in the last four years. We cannot afford to be idle. Vote because Breonna can’t. Because George can’t. Because Maurice can’t. Because they all can’t.
Megan Sayther
Front Desk Agent, The Standard, East Village
Why are you voting? Explain the answer on your shirt.
Because the planet is burning, and other people are making decisions on our health and safety. We need to take back the power to make changes to preserve the resources we need to survive.  We are running out of time to preserve resources we have and to promote clean energy in general.

What does this historical election mean to you personally? 
It's such a contentious election that everyone who can vote needs to come out to vote. Voices aren't being heard. We need to do everything we can do be heard.

Which issues are most important to you?
Climate change, health care, and dismantling racial inequality. As we've seen with COVID-19, everyone should have access to resources to stay healthy and safe. 

Anything else you want to include or say about this year’s election and the importance of voting?
It's more important than ever right now to vote. We can't trust the current president so we need to come out in mass.
Bryn Ramirez
Front Desk Agent, The Standard, High Line
Why are you voting? Explain the answers on your shirt. 
The future of the ecosystem, the future generations of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the immigrants and women of our land.

What does this historical election mean to you personally? How about to your family?
This election to me means a lot. I became a legal citizen of the United States a year ago this is my first official time voting in my 24 years of life. What it means to my family is opportunities as well as resources they don’t have back home in Colombia, a third world country. Most importantly, [this means] to have the option for a better life, but to also visit relatives.

Which issues are most important to you?
To me it would be definitely Trans healthcare, and the protection and safety of transgender people. Also being an immigrant, better treatment, facilities and laws to protect and secure the lives and safety of both undocumented and documented immigrants, as well as a a better, easier, and smoother process to naturalization.


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