According to the study, “Unequal Voices, Part II,” released by the statewide advocacy group Advancement Project, California’s Asian-American and Latino adult populations are vastly underrepresented in most political activities, while whites are overrepresented. From donations to petitions, voters of color are less likely than white counterparts to engage with politicians and campaigns.
This pattern is reflected in both the older adult population and millennials aged 18-34, suggesting it won’t simply erode over time, said John Dobard, manager of Political Voice at the Advancement Project.
Such pervasive racial disparities are particularly problematic considering 70 percent of the 80 million young adults entering the California electorate between now and 2030 will be people of color. Advocates warn of the need to restructure the traditional engagement model to be more reflective of the state’s majority-minority makeup.
Reporters can help fill the gap in hate crime reporting through coverage of local incidents in their communities, said A.C. Thompson, award-winning investigative journalist with ProPublica. The nonprofit news outlet is working to establish a mapping database to record incidents of hate crimes across the country.
“We’re trying to add another layer of information to what’s out there,” he said. “People around the country can report hate crime incidents and hate bias.”
For those reporting on hate crimes in local communities, Thompson recommends straddling the line between sympathy and skepticism towards victims.
“I think a lot of people don’t really know what DACA is. People think [Trump] can’t really do anything about it, but they don’t really understand the difference between an executive order and the law,” she said. “He can literally just take that piece of paper and throw it in the trash and that will be it. It won’t mean anything anymore.”
Fear of a Trump presidency is in fact prompting many to shy away from applying for the program or from renewing their paperwork out of fear their information will be used by the government to initiate deportation proceedings against them.
“I’ve always wanted to vote and help pick the president,” says Alex Salas, an 18-year-old senior at Golden Valley High School in Merced. “It means a lot to me and I’m excited to be able to pick the person that I believe should run our country.”
Salas is a member of the city’s Youth Council, a youth counterpart to the Merced City Council. He says that while he’s disappointed with the Republican win, he still believes in the importance of exercising his right to vote.