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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

South Asians for Justice and Equity Working to Register Voters Ahead of Next Week's Deadline

Ethan Khorana at Indian Garden
Kabir Bhatia
Ethan Khorana, a 15-year-old from Shaker Heights, was one of the speakers at the India Cultural Garden in Cleveland on Saturday during a rally by South Asians for Justice and Equity.

With one week left to register to vote, Indian-Americans in Cleveland rallied over the weekend to highlight the importance of voting.

The group South Asians for Justice and Equity – or SAJE – has been holding events since June to increase awareness of systemic racism – and trying to find ways to end it. At Saturday’s event, organizers encouraged everyone to both register to vote and work to ensure others are registered, too.

Community activist Mordecai Cargill, co-founder of ThirdSpace Action Lab, was one of the speakers. He says in his neighborhood – Glenville – the efforts have been hampered this year by a lack of enthusiasm for either presidential candidate.

“I gotta say, I respect that opinion. Do either of them understand what I’m going through here in the hood?”

Cargill says people need to start realizing that voting is the beginning of the process through which lasting change occurs.

“Ultimately, I believe that there is a transformation of values [and] consciousness in order for Black Lives Matter to go from a slogan to a reality. Who do we elect that is actually going to be aligned with what we all believe? That’s the broader vision -- but the first step is just voting.”

Ethan Khorana, a high school freshman from Shaker Heights, also spoke to encourage voter registration. He says that even though he can’t vote yet, he hopes to engage the people who can.

“I’m concerned for our democracy and I’m concerned for all the people who are facing these injustices and all my friends, family, and LGBTQ+ friends and family. I’m concerned for our future and for our current state, because they’re equally important.”

Volunteers with SAJE have been working to register people throughout the summer. The group is also hosting voter awareness events between now and the election. A meet and greet with some judicial candidates is scheduled for Monday, October 5 – which is also the deadline to register to vote.