Abuhena Hares Capstone

For my capstone I decided to work within my community. Specifically I contributed to the Bangladeshi-American community around me. I grew up watching my own community expand before my eyes. When I was a child there were very few Bangladeshi-American families around me but now there are hundreds. However, even though we grew in numbers we stagnated in social/political growth. Bangladeshi-Americans to this very day are still categorized as "asian" and this branding hurts us because we lose the characteristics which make us unique. This is the issue I chose to tackle with my capstone. My goal with this project was to help the Bangladeshi-American community become recognized as a respectable cultural, social and political group. 
To attain my goal for my capstone I researched several upcoming cultural events in my community. At this events I advocated for more political action urging more people to vote. I also showed people how to register to vote online as well as different ways to vote such as absentee voting. I was able to get many people to get interested in voting and as a result there were many people to register and vote. I knew that getting Bangladeshi-Americans to vote more would help the community get recognized by the city and politicians. I learned from this process that votes hold a lot of power, once my community organized as a voting force many politicians came to us to see how they could get our votes. Voting is powerful tool which helped my community grow. 

Digital Medium- https://docs.google.com/a/scienceleadership.org/presentation/d/1cnstfmlz7lv6Xn3L0VOxCLFcYD-Gb3VhuUgToHMVEZU/edit?usp=sharing (link to presentation/website)

Annotated Bibliography:

"Why Young, Minority, and Low-Income Citizens Don't Vote." Name. Center for American Progress, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.


This article talks about the groups of people in America who have been shown to have historically low turnout numbers. 34 percent of nonvoters are younger than 30. 70% of nonvoters are under the age of 50. From these statistics it can be determined that the vast majority of voters are relatively young. Furthermore 43% of all non voters are minorities (hispanic, african american, or other racial and ethnic minorities). 54% of all non voters have not completed college. 46% of all non-voters have an income of less than 30,000 dollars a year. All in all the demographic of nonvoters are minorities, have a low education, and have a low income. This accurately describes many of the Bangladeshi-americans who live in west Philadelphia.

Dye, Lee. "The Psychology of Voting." ABC News. ABC News Network, 6 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=119958&page=1>.

This article talks about the psychology behind people voting. Depending on how riveting an election is people will be more inclined to vote. If both candidates are people who are relatively without controversy than people are much less likely to vote. However if both are also equally terrible then people also will not vote. There needs to be a dynamic between good and evil candidates in order to get people interested in voting. For instance in the upcoming election Donald Trump is seen as the bad guy and Bernie Sanders is seen as the good guy. Because of this many people are invested in the upcoming election because they fear for the future of a country that is led by Donald J. Trump.

Giordano, Dom. "Those Who Don't Vote Shouldn't." Philly.com. Philly.com, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20151028_Those_who_don_t_vote_shouldn_t.html>.

The statistic of voter turnout in Philadelphia during the municipal elections of 2015 were astonishing. Very few people voted compared to the overall population of Philadelphia. 23% of people said that they didn’t vote because they were busy, 16% of voters said that they weren’t interested, 8% of people said that they disliked the candidates running. These numbers are astounding because it show just how out of loop our city is with its own government. To add insult to injury the city of Philadelphia offered a 10,000 dollar cash prize to the first four people who turned up to vote. Essentially this turns our given right to vote into a joke. No better than a cash prize on the television show wipeout. Elections are not taken nearly as seriously as they should be in this city.

Jaipaul. Directory of Ethnic Resources of Philadelphia and Delaware Valley. Philadelphia: Ethnic Heritage Affairs Institute, 1976. Print.

Since 1976 the population of Bangladeshi-Americans in Philadelphia has skyrocketed. In West Philadelphia alone there are around over a thousand Bangladeshi-americans. This strong demographic of Bangladeshi people exhibit great literature, folk art, religious tradition, and linguistic aptitude. In addition the Bangladeshi-american community of West Philadelphia has established many cultural and educational organizations designed to help integrate Bangladeshi-americans into American culture. Despite this strong Background however there are very few accounts of Bangladeshi-american involvement in the political aspect of the city of Philadelphia. In fact only recently have Bangladeshi-americans started communicating with their local government as a community. This was in order to expand as existing islamic mosque to accommodate a rapidly growing community. To that point the community had been rejected twice on their plans to expand the mosque because of poor communication and a lack of formal understanding of the inner workings of the municipal government of Philadelphia. This is where improvement in the bangladeshi-american community of Philadelphia needs to happen.

Eade, John. The Politics of Community: The Bangladeshi Community in East London. Aldershot, Hants, England: Avebury, 1989. Print.

There is no reliable statistical information regarding the Bangladeshi community in east london. Bangladeshi-Americans on the census are lapped in the category of “Other/Asian” when it comes to data involving them. This misrepresentation of Bangladeshi-Americans leads to devaluing of the community as they are not properly recognized. In West Philadelphia there is no proper account of how many Bangladeshi-Americans there are. I personally have experienced there to be over a thousand, however no census will tell you this. In the eyes of many we are placed in with other indian/pakistani people despite our distinct differences. In order to gain traction as an aspiring minority there needs to be movement which raises awareness on a little known community. This movement needs to be demonstrated politically.

Rahman, Shafiqur. The Bangladeshi Diaspora in the United States after 9/11: From Obscurity to High Visibility. El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub., 2011. Print.

This book tackles the issues plaguing Bangladeshi-Americans after the attacks on the twin towers during the infamous event 9/11. One major issue surrounding the Bangladeshi-American community is their relative obscurity towards other Americans. “in the US, as I am often told, one’s assertion of Bangladesh origins is often greeted with a blank stare or the response of “Bangladesh, where’s that?” (Nazli Kibria). It doesn’t help at all that after 9/11 muslims became branded very poorly by both the people of America and the media alike. Post 9/11 being muslim expanded beyond being a follower of a religion, it became a distinction to describe those who have beards, olive colored skin, thick eyebrows, and wear robes. This branding of “muslim” on the Bangladeshi community has no doubt hindered it development as a growing minority. In addition to be branded as indo-pakistani the title of muslim is also bestowed to all Bangladeshi-americans. As more words are coined to describe Bangladeshi-americans they become less and less Bangladeshi-americans.

Clement, Scott. "Why Don’t Americans Vote? We’re “too Busy.”."Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/17/why-dont-americans-vote-were-too-busy/>.

According to U.S Elections Project 2014 yielded the lowest midterm voter turnout since 1942. 2014, unlike 1942, wasn’t a year where America was faced with the greatest threat to world peace ever. This leads to questions as to why voter turnout is so low. This article found a study from the United States Census bureau which found that 28% of eligible yet non voting americans chose being “busy” as their reason for not voting. We live in a country which describes voting as “a god given right” many of us don’t exert our right. To get more people the opportunity to vote there needs to be a stronger emphasis on other means of voting. To vote you don’t need to run to your nearest booth. There are many new ways to vote including mail in and absentee. Furthermore we can even vote early before election day even comes. The ability to vote with attending a booth needs to be more readily advertise as it would entice many more people vote leaving them without excuses such as “I’m busy.”

Lindell, Hattie. "TexElects." Moody College of Communication. Moody College of Communication The University of Texas at Austin, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://moody.utexas.edu/strauss/texelects/importance-voting-hattie-lindell>.

Elections determine who are the people who will be running our country. This encompasses more than just the president and his cabinet members. This includes the smaller positions which make up municipal government. The 2008 US Census Bureau says that only 63% of all people registered to vote did, however only 72% of America is registered to vote. Basically only 45% of America is even voting in these elections. Only 45% of all Americans are even voting. 55% of America isn’t voting. This means that we are missing the input of an enormous demographic people when it comes to voting.

"Different Ways to Vote." Different Ways to Vote. Cornwall Council, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/elections/different-ways-to-vote/>.

This article goes over the different ways to vote in case the standard way of voting via booth isn’t possible. Postal voting allows people to vote through the mail. To vote via mail in one needs to decide who they are going to vote for ahead of the election. First you must apply to vote online through your state’s website. Next you will have your postal voting form mailed to you. You then fill out the form and mail it back to your local polling place. All of this must be done at least 11 working days before the election. You also vote through proxy voting where you have someone else vote in your place.

Fennema, Meindert, and Jean Tillie. "Civic Community, Political Participation and Political Trust of Ethnic Groups." Multikulturelle Demokratien Im Vergleich (2001): 198-217. Research Gate. Simon Fraiser University. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Meindert_Fennema/publication/253377403_Civic_Community_Political_Participation_and_Political_Trust_of_Ethnic_Groups/links/54735e5e0cf2d67fc03732d1.pdf>.

This article details the political involvement of minorities in Amsterdam in Netherlands. This study found that the involvement of minorities in the municipal elections of Amsterdam was declining. In 1994 67% of the turkish community in Amsterdam participated in the municipal elections. In 1998 only 39% participated in the municipal elections. Despite this however the turkish population is shown to be the most active minority group involved in municipal elections. Because of this they are shown to have a significantly higher political trust compared to other minority groups in Amsterdam. Furthermore an increased political trust has shown that Turks are more properly represented by the city of Amsterdam.