On January 29th 2013, at the Blessed Sacrament Church, 84 year old Pattarin Thongchua delivered a speech to hundreds of people. Among those hundreds, 12 are candidates running for the position of councilmember in Council District 13. On that stage, Pattarin flexed the influence that an individual, a Thai American, can have on their elected officials. As Pattarin spoke, the candidates looked up and hung off her every word.
In her words, she declared that, “What is important for me in addition to being in a nice, decent, and affordable housing is that I’m in Thai Town and can get Thai food and groceries nearby. From my senior housing, I [attend] an adult day care three times a week for a half day each day and there I am provided meals and am able to participate in many activities. I have no family here since my children are all back in Thailand and my cousin passed away last year at 97 years of age. It makes a difference to have activities that I could be a part of and to have the company of others my age, otherwise it would be a very lonely and isolated existence… Affordable senior housing definitely adds to an improved quality of life for me.”
Following the speech, each candidate responded directly to her intent on making sure everyone knows that they will dedicate themselves to supporting her cause. However, while doing so, their eyes never shifted from her direction. For those few moments, as the candidates words echoed throughout the church, she was the center of everyone’s attention. Her experience, her presence, and her issue, were of sublime importance.
This immeasurable act speaks volumes to the candidates. The importance of which should not be lost among the Thai community. We must recognize that the future Council District 13 member will have a significant influence over the present and future development of Thai Town. Consequently, if we want to raise the prominence of Thai Town and ensure that it is benefitting from the developments in the area, we must actively participate in choosing the next Councilmember for District 13.
Exercise your right and VOTE this Tuesday on March 5th!