The other one of us (Shuran Huang) has struggled with fitting into a society that’s not hers. Huang has lived in Singapore, Italy, Ethiopia, Japan, and other countries, where she was one of the few Chinese nationals in most of these nations. Huang moved to the United States in 2014 and earned her master’s degree in photojournalism at Syracuse University in 2018, where about 6 percent of the student population is Asian, almost mirroring the U.S. population. After living in the United States for six years, and watching the 2016 election unfold, Huang is still figuring out how to find a niche in a constantly evolving country.
We understand that Asian Americans are not a monolith, and that this is a limited snapshot of a diverse demographic group. That said, we both hope to raise the voices of Asian Americans in a process that has historically ignored them.
Alain Xiong-Calmes, 24, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Xiong-Calmes is half-white and half-Chinese. His mother immigrated to the U.S. to seek a better education at the Juilliard School in New York. Xiong-Calmes lives with type 1 diabetes. “I personally think Donald Trump has been really destructive for health care for tons of Americans,” he told us. “We should not let people die just because they’re poor.” He voted by mail for Joe Biden in early October.
Cindy Bo, 43, and David Hwang, 43, Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania
Bo’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from China before she was born, and Hwang’s mother came when he was 5 years old. Bo works as the operational vice president and chief strategy and business-development officer in Delaware Valley for the Nemours Children’s Health System. Hwang is a stay-at-home dad of their two children, Lucas, 7, and Matthew, 21. Bo and Hwang are disappointed with Trump’s handling of the pandemic, social-justice issues, and health care. They plan to vote for Biden. “When you think about the election this year, what has made it so different from other election years is that there is such a big contrast and divisiveness that I’ve not seen in this country,” Bo told us.
Andrea Buchanan, 27, Philadelphia
Buchanan grew up in Orange County, California, and moved east to attend Gettysburg College. Since graduating in 2015, she has been working in higher education. Valuing tax cuts and individual freedom has pushed Buchanan’s family toward the Republican Party. But Buchanan moved toward the Democrats in college, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and plans to vote for Biden, hoping to see improvements in health care, the environment, and criminal-justice reform. “I think it is slightly embarrassing to be represented by someone that is so not representative of the ideals and the values that I hold as a person,” Buchanan told us.
Mark Ogino, 61, Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Ogino was born in Los Angeles to Japanese parents, but after moving to Alabama and Louisiana, they were the only Asian family in their community. “We would drive hours to go to an Asian store,” Ogino told us. “The Asian culture really came from home only.” Ogino was raised Republican, partly because his father, who was imprisoned in the ’40s during Japanese internment, “hates paying taxes,” Ogino said. But Ogino switched party affiliations during college. After medical school, he met his partner, Paul Czubryt, who is white, and they adopted two children from Cambodia. As a pediatrician, Ogino is pained by the Trump administration’s family-separation policy and pandemic response. He plans to vote for Biden.