News / USA

New US Citizen Savors First Vote

Katrina Dizon says she feels her new U.S. citizenship is  more official now that she's voted. (Photo by Kate Woodsome)Katrina Dizon says she feels her new U.S. citizenship is more official now that she's voted. (Photo by Kate Woodsome)
x
Katrina Dizon says she feels her new U.S. citizenship is  more official now that she's voted. (Photo by Kate Woodsome)
Katrina Dizon says she feels her new U.S. citizenship is more official now that she's voted. (Photo by Kate Woodsome)
Katrina Dizon says she has not been sleeping well this week. She’s been anxious about the U.S. elections and her role in them.
 
“I set my alarm for 6 a.m. but I'd been up since 5:00, just kind of lying there waiting for my alarm to get off,” she said Tuesday outside her polling station in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. 
 
The 29-year-old Philippine American says she was worried she would break the voting machine when casting a ballot for the first time, just three months after becoming a U.S. citizen. 
 
“But everything went smoothly. And I'm definitely very excited, especially since I worked so hard on this campaign.  I knocked on doors.  I made phone calls with my friends.  And just the fact that I got to be a part of it, it means so much to me.  I'm very, very happy,” she said.
 
Dizon, who supports Democratic President Barack Obama's reelection, moved to the United States from the Philippines when she was three years old.  Her family came on a tourist visa and spent several years as undocumented immigrants before attaining legal permanent residency and, later, citizenship. 
 
Dizon says it was that experience that propelled her to work in the labor movement, becoming a voice for immigrants, and to vote for Obama. 
 
“I think overall [Obama] shares the values that I've been brought up with.  I'm very close with the work I do with the Asian-American community.  I think he's worked hard for us to earn the rights and a voice in the workplace and the country,” she said.
 
The opinion of Asian-Americans is gaining new weight in U.S. politics, since they’re one of the fastest growing racial groups in the United States.
 
Dizon says other members of the area's Philippine community, many of whom are Catholic, are voting for former Massachusetts Governor Republican Mitt Romney for president because he shares their values. 
 
Whoever wins, Dizon says she plans to remain an outspoken labor advocate, especially now that she feels the added confidence of being a U.S. citizen.  
 
“Not being a citizen, you kind of feel like you're a second class citizen.  You definitely don't have as many rights.  So when I finally naturalized in August, I feel like it was a great weight off my shoulders.  Like I finally made it; I'm free,” she said. 
 
Standing outside her polling station, wearing an Obama T-shirt and an “I Voted” sticker on her blazer, Dizon said she feels that voting somehow made her citizenship more official. 
 
“It was a great feeling of accomplishment because I feel like I earned it, and I feel like my parents earned it for me, too.  And it's something I'm grateful for and will never ever take for granted,” she said.
 
That is an accomplishment she wants other immigrants to the United States to understand, regardless of who wins the presidency.   

Listen to the audio version of this report:

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid