"Other" is Not My Identity. - VAYLA New Orleans

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Where there is culture, there are the people it lives through, all playing their individual part in the orchestra. From Gumbo to Yakamein, brass bands to slick jazz, our very Louisianian identity has been weaved from diversity. Is there anything more Louisianian than celebrating our culture and everything Louisiana?

When it comes to data collection and dissemination, Louisiana does not celebrate or acknowledge our diversity. Data is only broken down into three categories: White, Black, and Other, erasing the countless contributions of non-Black/non-White communities, as well as the needs of each of those communities. The language of “other” is a microcosm of the hierarchical narrative that reigns in our country and leaves communities more susceptible to the dehumanization and violence that disenfranchisement creates. 

Though often unseen and underappreciated, we all deserve to have our voices amplified among the proverbial choir. One of the most significant ways to achieve this is by capturing, processing, and using disaggregated data in our state’s policy creation and decision-making. We are not “Other,” we are contributing citizens of this melting pot state.

Help us gain recognition and representation for all of our diverse citizens, sign on to and share this petition! Diversity should be celebrated—not shunned!

By acknowledging all the threads that create Louisiana, we create a strong, vibrant, and economically viable state for all of us to celebrate. 

When researching election results using the Louisiana Secretary of State website, racial demographics are broken down into three categories: White, Black, and Other. Although White and Black people make up the majority of Louisiana residents, all of the racial groups under the umbrella term of "other" each have their own rightful place in our communities, with their own unique values and concerns derived from the upbringing their respective cultures cultivated in them.

Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing racial groups in America, and have made major contributions to the cultural ethos of Louisiana, yet are seldom considered a vital target demographic for legislative and political campaigns. Their contributions must be recognized with specific data, as well as the contributions of other non-White/non-Black racial groups. Blanketing these communities under one category perpetuates a level of ambiguity and erasure that makes tracking/analyzing their voices and concerns more difficult than that of our White and Black voters. With data comes visibility, with visibility comes resources, with resources comes influence, and with influence comes participation and inclusion.

Ultimately, with data comes protection. With the rise in Asian American violence, propelled by ignorance and fear, it is now more crucial than ever that we lift up our Asian American community and provide them with the visibility and priority every community deserves as their civil right. Through action today, we may hope to prevent any future acts of hate not only for Asian Americans, but for all.

To start, each group should be categorized under the same racial identity chosen in their voter registration, and the public election results should reflect a more holistic analysis of voter demographics in Louisiana.

Diversity should be celebrated—not shunned! Help us gain recognition and representation for all of our diverse citizens, sign on to and share this petition!