Holding signs reading “Vote,” “Refugees Welcome” and “We Are Columbus,” newly-naturalized citizens rallied in Columbus, Ohio and cast their very first Presidential ballots during early voting over the weekend.
Images from the Central Ohio Worker Center – Centro de Trabajadores de Central Ohio.
Before marching together to the Franklin County Early Voting Center, new citizens and refugees shared their unique stories and highlighted the importance of voting. Immigrant and voters of color will play a pivotal role in the 2016 Presidential election, and the rallygoers were among the hundreds who lined up during the weekend to early vote.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” said Davi Sharma.
Sharma is from Buton, Indonesia.
“We didn’t have this opportunity. Now, we are in the United States, the country of opportunity and we got the chance to vote,” said Sharma.
Voting is a freedom many take for granted, yet people like Sharma cling to the liberty.
“For us it’s a job that we make sure that all communities and different ethnic groups are involved and they are understanding this is America,” said Zerqa Abid, an advocate for Muslim voters. “Democracy is giving you this gift that you can have.”
Other speakers, including Bhuwan Pyrakurel of the Bhutanese Nepali Community Center, Ruben Castilla-Herrera of Central Ohio Worker Center, and Br. Horsed Nooh of the Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center, also shared important voting information, encouraging the local community to exercise their civic duty.