News / USA

California Immigrants Become Politically Active

California Immigrants Become Politically Activei
|| 0:00:00
X
Mike O'Sullivan
September 29, 2012 12:41 AM
American cities attract immigrants from around the world, and they bring changes to their new neighborhoods. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that newcomers from Asia and Latin America have brought an international flavor to the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, where they now make up most of the population, and some residents have been prompted to become politically active.

California Immigrants Become Politically Active

Mike O'Sullivan
American cities attract immigrants from around the world, and they bring changes to their new neighborhoods. Newcomers from Asia and Latin America have brought an international flavor to the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, where they now make up most of the population, and some residents have been prompted to become politically active.
 
City officials in Rosemead in the San Gabriel Valley were trying to close a poultry store.  It sells freshly slaughtered chickens and other birds, with their heads and feet on, the way that many Asian immigrants like them. Some neighbors and local officials thought the shop had a foul smell.
 
But Dana Phu, who owns the shop with her husband, said this is part of Chinese culture, along with incense sticks and ceremonial paper used for funeral offerings, which they also sell. Phu is ethnically Chinese and comes from Vietnam.
 
“It's a lot of Asians - and our business, our services - are servicing those people.”
 
She mobilized friends and supporters and filed a lawsuit against the city council. They reached a settlement and are now in talks to work out the problems.
 
Immigrants came to this part of California for the business opportunities, good schools and affordable housing. Some moved from the crowded Los Angeles neighborhood, Chinatown, wanting a better life in the suburbs.
 
Lily Chen is a former mayor of Monterey Park, an early destination for Asians in the San Gabriel Valley. Its population now is more than two-thirds Asian-American. In 1984, she became the first Chinese American to lead an American city. She noted the surge of Asian immigrants that began in the 1980s.
 
“From Hong Kong, from Taiwan, later some of them from Vietnam. And now of course we have more Chinese population moving from China,” said Chen.
 
 
Los Angeles also is a magnet for Latin American immigrants, and many have also settled in this valley, making up about a quarter of the population. The San Gabriel Mission, founded in 1771 by Spanish missionaries, draws Hispanic worshippers on Sundays.
 
Political parties are working to enlist these residents as voters. State Senator Ed Hernandez, a Mexican-American, represents many Latino and Asian American constituents.
 
“We need to empower everybody. All the citizens of this country and the state have to realize the importance of their vote,” he said.
 
Hernandez said he became involved in politics to have a voice in his community.
 
So did Judy Chu, another former mayor of Monterey Park who is now the first Chinese-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. She said immigrants face obstacles to full participation.
 
“There are so many immigrants that have language barriers or who simply are not informed about what's going on and what resources there are for them to succeed,” said Chu.
 
She said that's why she reaches out to voters.
 
Asian-American activist William Su said immigrants need to make their voices heard.
 
“You have to have representatives, you have to be involved with the political system in order for the government to understand your needs,” said Su.
 
He said politics is a give-and-take process and, as immigrants learn to get along with other ethnic groups, they are gaining a voice in their new communities.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid