By Stephan Sookram in Barbados(compliments of Jiffy Lubes, Rent-a-Tent, A&R Jiwanram, Hand-in-Hand, John Fernandes Limited, Best Buy Auto)ELLIOT and Matthew Vieira ruled the super stock class of the recently concluded Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championships in Barbados.Starting on pole in the first super stock race, Elliot got off to a bad start, allowing Canada-based Barbadian representative Kevin Graham to take the lead. He retained the lead two laps after capitalising on a minor error by his opponent.However, during that battle, Stephen Vieira, who had failed to qualify earlier, made his way from the back of the pack and took advantage of both Elliot and Graham to slide by into first place.Stephen finished the race in first place but was disqualified by race officials for passing under a yellow flag – a flag which he and other riders say they had not seen but was on track, according to said officials, thus gifting Elliot the win, his cousin Matthew second and Graham third.Race two saw Stephen again at the back of the pack, riding his way up the standings before he fell on the first corner, giving Elliot his second win of the day, Matthew second and Barbados Terrance Ollivierre third.The last super stock event of the day, however, saw Stephen’s bad weekend continue with him falling again, at the same corner on lap two while one lap later, Elliot ended up in the same corner at the exact same spot.However, Matthew was able to maintain his composure throughout the race, navigating the later part of the race with relative ease to take the chequered flag and his third podium of the day.On the car end of things, Shan Sejattan’s weekend was up and down with him not being allowed out in the first Group two race after being adjudged by race officials to have arrived at the pit exit late. Marc Gill (Trinidad), Kenrick Husbands (Barbados) and Mark Thompson (Barbados) were the top finishers.He opted to run his car in the Group three class alongside Nazim Gafoor and finished fifth on the grid, Paul Vieira (Trinidad), Ronald Wortman (Trinidad) and Steve King (Barbados) finishing in the top three spots.On the second Group two outing, Shan finished a modest fourth behind Thompson, Gill and Husbands in that order. The final Group two race of the day, however, saw car troubles plague his Honda Civic with him only completing three laps.Meanwhile in Group three race one, Nazim Gafoor finished sixth on the grid before upping his performance to finish third in the second race behind Kurt Thompson and Paul Vieira respectively.The final race saw a recurring gearbox problem put him out with just four of the six scheduled laps completed.Gafoor also took his car to the Group four two-wheel drive class where he finished fifth in the first and second races.The team returned home yesterday.
The Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly hosted the Institute’s fourth and final installment in the “It’s Our Election Too” series Wednesday. Moderators included Unruh Institute Director Dan Schnur and APASA External Community Chair Amy Chau. Panelists included L.A. Councilmember David Ryu, Voting Coordinator at the L.A. branch of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Shelly Chen, and, Sarah Kim, APASA Finance Director, and Aliza Khan, a junior majoring in economics.Ryu was the first Korean American and only the second Asian American to be elected to municipal office in Los Angeles. Representing the Fourth District, stretching from Sherman Oaks to Koreatown, Ryu was elected with strong support from the Korean community in and around his district. He discussed his campaign with the panel and the similarities to the national election.“If you look at my [City Council] election, it’s just a microcosm of what’s going to happen in the macro,” Ryu said.While Ryu ran in a crowded non-partisan primary for City Council with 13 opponents, he and defeated front-runner Carolyn Ramsay, former chief-of-staff to then-incumbent Councilmember Tom LaBonge in the general election.The panel also touched on the importance of Asian Americans actually turning out to participate in the elections that elect their representatives.Kim noted that Asian Americans may be skeptical of participating in American politics because of their associations with politics back home or may simply have little motivation to do so.“A lot of older generations feel that — even though they have become citizens in recent years — they feel more plugged in back at home, whether that be China, or Korea or Vietnam, and they don’t believe that they should participate here [in U.S. elections],” Kim said.Chen spoke on her work with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, dealing with challenges of getting Asian voters to turn out and participate on Election Day. AAAJ is an advocacy organization that works on behalf of Asian Americans to organize on issues such as race relations and domestic violence.“Our [Asian] communities are disproportionately immigrant and relatively limited-English-speaking, and so what that means is that many folks face barriers when it comes to the voting process,” Chen said. “Particularly when it comes to language, many voters don’t know the resources that are available to them.”When questioned about the possible influence the Asian-American community could have on future elections through its traditional view as a swing voter block, both Chen and Kim pointed out that many Asian Americans vote regarding issue positions and less by party.In her response, Kim noted that in past presidential elections, Asian Americans cast as many as 74 percent of their votes for Democrats. However, twenty years into the past, just as high a percentage voted for Republican candidates.Chen, however, noted that Asian Americans are often ignored because they aren’t widely considered to be reliable partisan voters.“A lot of folks in our [Asian Pacific American] community are unaffiliated,” Chen pointed out. “What happens, sometimes to our detriment, is that our community is ignored by those mainstream candidates.”Finally, Ryu addressed the students by discussing how he used “people power” to overcome the odds against him in his election for City Council.“They said ‘it’s not our turn [to have a Korean councilman],’” Ryu said. “See, in politics, power is not given. It’s taken.”