‘First Vote’ Documentary Sheds a Rare Light on Asian-American Voters

Oct 15, 2020 | AA, CULTURE, GOV, NEWS

Now more than ever, being part of the United States electorate has become a priority for all of its citizens – including millions of Asian-Americans. First Vote shows not only the voting behavior of Asian Americans, but also how it is connected to voting rights, immigration, and racial justice.

Its trailer opens up with a bold statement. “Being able to vote is a privilege.” And while this may not be agreed upon by everyone, there’s no denying a lot of individuals in the world are unable to vote. 

First Vote directed by Yi Chen is a character-driven documentary that is focused on politically engaged Chinese-Americans. The subject of the documentary includes a “gun-toting Tea Party-favorite candidate courting GOP votes in the South; a podcaster in Ohio who became a citizen in order to vote for Trump; a long-haired journalist confronting Chinese Americans for Trump after moving to a battleground state; and a University of North Carolina professor teaching about race and racism in the US.”

About the Film

The film showcases a brilliant look at how the growing Asian-American community in Ohio and North Carolina are tackling the election – from the 2016 presidential race, to the 2018 midterms. The documentary also explores how voting is connected to immigration, voting rights, and justice. 

The Struggle of Asian-Americans

The federal law barred Asian immigrants to become US citizens so they could vote until 1952. Thankfully, the community’s cry for acceptance and inclusion has been answered. Now, Asian-Americans are considered the fastest-growing population in the US, with over 11 million expected voters in 2020. 

Despite millions of Asian-American voters, there has been a lack of conversation about this group. Director Yi Chen, a first-time voter herself, hopes to change this narrative. Chen gives viewers a surprising look at the diverse Asian American voters.

Where to Watch

First Vote is part of America ReFramed, a selection of independent documentaries that bring light to compelling stories that concern the changing landscape of America. The documentaries span people from big towns, small suburbs, and even country roads. It also presents a wide array of personal stories that all walks of people can connect to. 

Watch it every Tuesdays on The World Channel. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video.