CHICAGO (RNS) — About a dozen Rohingya refugees voted for the first time Tuesday (Oct. 20) at an early voting site in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.
It wasn’t just the first time they voted as United States citizens. It was the first time they’d ever voted, period.
In the seven years he’s lived in America, Nasir Zakaria has hardly felt as grateful as he did Tuesday waiting at the Warren Park polling site in Rogers Park to cast his first-ever vote in his lifetime, he said.
“Really I’m so grateful for country of United States,” Zakaria, a Rohingya American, said. “I’m so grateful for people of United States for supporting (us). I’m so grateful for government of United States.”
The journey from refugee to registered voter isn’t always an easy one. But this past October, more than a dozen Rohingya-Americans completed it when they cast their ballots for the first time in the 2020 U.S. general election.
Those Rohingya refugees took a van to vote at the Warren Park Field House, located in West Rogers Park Oct. 20.
Chicago is now home to about 2,000 Rohingya, making it the largest Rohingya population in the United States.