G.T. first came to Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles asking for help in March 2017 — he wanted to become a citizen. For decades, he was haunted by the tragedy he experienced during China’s Cultural Revolution until he moved to the U.S. after being petitioned by his U.S. citizen daughter.
During the cultural revolution, G.T. was punished and exiled to the countryside for over 10 years and separated from his family because he was too vocal in criticizing the Chinese government. His son, too, was killed and murdered as a result of this criticism. But now that he is in America, he feels more relieved, happy, and free. He has made many friends and now openly discusses politics and governments without fear of repercussions.
“I’m so excited that now I have a right to vote,” G.T. said, enthusiastically. “I will…vote for the next American President, which is very cool.”
In his determination to become a citizen, he started learning English six years ago, walking nearly three miles round-trip to the local adult school three times a week. But when his wife’s Alzheimer’s deteriorated, he stopped attending classes and instead listened to English tapes and books at home and collected English pamphlets from the streets.
One of our lawyers, who helped G.T. through the application process, had the pleasure of accompanying G.T. to his naturalization interview, which he successfully completed alongside his English and civics test. All his hard work learning English really paid off!
“This country has many non-profit organizations and volunteers who can help old people like me who don’t speak English well,” G.T. said. “I feel like this country really puts people first on their agenda.”
His determination and vigor even at 86 years old is inspirational. He attended his oath ceremony on June 20 and immediately registered to vote. He’s ready to exercise his new rights as an American citizen and cast his ballot in November.
Are you also ready to cast your ballot this November? Check your voter registration status online: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/. You have until October 22, 2018 to register — don’t wait.