Why Joyce Kim Winning Matters
I won’t be voting in this year’s Undergraduate Assembly elections. Not because I am apathetic, but because I’m a senior and won’t be here next year. But what will remain is the legacy of students of color such as myself who have fought hard for a more coherent and effective administration and life for everyone.
And if I had to choose who could do that genuinely and truly, Joyce Kim is the surefire choice.
Not to say that her opponent is not accomplished, I think that we can all find something admirable about him. But that isn’t what change polices and bring communities together.
There is a thin line between great rhetoric and great work, and none should be confused as being equality great.
To the classes behind me, you have a choice. Are you all going to vote for what traditionally looks like a president or are we going to vote for what should be a president. As much as we glamorize vanity on this campus, I am asking you to look at the tangible merit of these candidates and not be persuaded by rhetoric.
To be quite frank, Joyce Kim has put in her time, and it’s time that she is finally able to take it to the next level. For the first time in nearly 3 years, there is a strong possibility that our next UA President will be a leader from a 5B organization (Lambda Alliance, Umoja, Latino Coalition, PAACH, and United Minorities Council). Also, there has never been a woman serving as UA President in approximately 10 years or even more.
Since then, many of the former candidates and people who have held this prestigious position has come from politically polarizing organizations (whether Penn Dems or Penn Republicans) they come in with their own set agendas and motivations that have extended beyond the Penn community.
And that is not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to be a politician in the future, but when you let your professional desires outweigh your ability to focus on your present responsibilities, the campus suffers.
That is what happened this year with the Undergraduate Assembly. Personal and professional ambitions outside of student advocacy reigned supreme. It all became a big Vanity Fair party of ego stroking, eloquent debates, and lots of great talk, but more often than not, no real tangible change.
And who suffered? The student body did. Because once again we were left astray with only a handful of e-mails that kept us somewhat informed.
What happened in those meetings were mutinies, old fashion plot scheming, and personal beefs that made ridiculous headlines that The Daily Pennsylvanian over-spinned and we as a campus got annoyed.
Because once again, we were reading what the UA was doing to each other and not for us and what its Vice President rather be doing other than serving us.
It goes without saying that I admire our current Vice President. I think he is a bright man with an even brighter future. We have had many sit-downs and deep talks and I found him to be the best candidate for VP last year. And like all of the past candidates that I personally endorse, they all win.
But one thing that I am firm about is loyalty. When you work with a President, you stand by them. You advise them. You help them not go astray, and when they do, you warn them and put them in check. What you do not do is participate in their possible impeachment and then retract at your convenience. That isn’t leadership. That is child’s play, and we are supposed to be better than that.
I will not speculate on the motives behind such decisions, but I will say that the campus is not all amused by the thought of trying to impeach someone during a budget process that impacts the entire function of student life. And they are not too pleased with the idea that such an impeachment would have taken away the most notable presidential power (to help work on the budget) to someone who is planning on running for the position right after. Strategic, meticulous planning? Who knows, but it was not a good move.
But despite all of that drama, who didn’t sign the impeachment and wasn’t even really made aware of it?
And why not, you wonder? Because she had better things to do with her time like she has always been throughout these years. Whether it was being the Chair of the United Minorities Council, or heading up social justice issues, or being the secretary of the Undergraduate Assembly or staying afloat with all intercultural and interfaith initiatives…Joyce has put in the work.
Her ability to connect with various steering groups across all walks of life is astounding. The level of effort and time she has put into projects that have actually worked and still work is amazing. And her ability to continue to advocate for various groups outside of the 5B is phenomenal.
A woman who has never just sat and took notes, but actually leaned in. A woman who has never been the conversation, but the actual press conference. A woman who has constantly been there in times of mental health discussions way before there was a public outcry for it.
Joyce Kim is us and we will be heard.
Because for 3 years she has listened to us far more than any other Undergraduate Assembly member. From the time she came to campus and entered the in the UA freshman election, she was a very ambitious and outgoing individual.
I have been fortunate to see her grow and come into the leader she has become. And while many times she has wanted to do more on her plate, she made sacrifices, remained humbled, and waited her turn.
It’s now here. It’s time.
Time to let a woman be the face of our student government. Time to let people know that a face of color on campus is not just a minority leader, but a Penn leader. Time to let the work of many groups on campus be heard because the woman sitting in the room represents them.
This may be early, but this endorsement could not be more important. Joyce Kim should and will be the next President of the Undergraduate Assembly.
I believe that our campus will finally turn off “House of Cards: UA Edition” and turn on a new moment for real tangible change to actually happen.
I believe in Joyce and her running mate, UA Speaker of the House, Joshua Chilcote, because they have believed in us. When I resigned from the UA, I had the hope that this would make stronger leaders and lead to more serious work.
A year later, I can honestly say some took those words and made them into more than just rhetoric, but tangible change.
Vote for them.
That is all,