Who Counts? That is perhaps one of the defining questions of a democracy. You may have heard that in under two weeks, this election will be the most consequential of our lifetimes. That is no hyperbole. We have seen stripped bare, explicit attempts to question and subvert fundamental democratic premises. We have seen efforts to deploy state violence and mobilize far right groups to intimidate and discourage our rights to petition for grievances or our efforts to hold authorities accountable. We have seen families separated and children caged. We have seen a callous disregard and contempt for the calamities many communities face across the land. With by turns incredulity and bitter reckoning, we are made to feel that we do not count and do not matter.

This one election will not solve our struggles and you may face unconscionable hardship and even peril in casting a simple vote. The fact of the matter is that the history of our democracy has always been begrudged and yet– others across time and space have struggled to widen its shores, so that you may rise and be counted or rise for those yet to be counted.

Make a plan to vote. Treat it with the dignity and gravity it deserves. In the words of James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We are called to account this election and I hope you will face it and know that you are not alone.


Edmund Fong

Chair, Ethnic Studies