Take the Mic: What does it feel like to be a first-time voter right now? | KNKX

Take the Mic: What does it feel like to be a first-time voter right now?

Oct 14, 2020

“I went into high school the same year that Donald Trump was elected president, so it kind of bookended my high school experience.”

Alicia Ing graduated from Renton High School as part of the class of 2020 and is studying at the University of Washington. Now, four years after that election, Alicia is 18 years old and getting ready to vote in her first presidential election.

She’s a first-generation American; her parents fled the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia. Her outlook on politics, civic engagement and immigrant rights have been shaped by her parents’ experience, as Alicia described in a piece for our Take the Mic youth voices project.

“My dad and I talk about politics openly all the time,” she said. “Something that my dad always says to me specifically is that you can talk about all these issues going on in the world and you can criticize this and criticize that, but the most impactful way you can be able to have a say in these things is through your vote.”

Alicia has been active in community advocacy for more than four years and currently works as the program coordinator for the Seattle-based nonprofit, Hey Mentor. She’s one of five young interviewers posing questions about ethics, accountability and leadership to leaders in an event on Wednesday at 4 p.m., co-sponsored by KNKX and South Seattle Emerald. The leaders to be interviewed include Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, former Gov. Gary Locke, TraeAnna Holiday of Converge Media, and Michael Liang of Spaceworks in Tacoma. 

Participants will be diving deep into issues important to young people, who make up 37 percent of the electorate but have historically not voted as much as other age groups. For more information and to register for Election 2020 – The Youth Vote event, click here.

KNKX would like to hear more stories from young people. Here’s information on how to submit a story for Take the Mic.