LOS ANGELES — Koreatown has seen a lot of changes over the years, but long-time resident Kristina Wong doesn’t like everything she sees. Troubled by local issues impacting her community, Kristina decided to run for office.
“Are you excited?” asks a constituent by an outdoor ballot box.
“I’m so excited! We all came to vote! Oh my God!” exclaimed Kristina Wong.
A performance artist by trade, Kristina is now a Representative for the Wilshire-Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council where she constantly runs into constituents on the street. And every conversation starts the same.
“Right now in Koreatown, I think the homeless crisis is visibly exploding,” said Wong. “I am seeing new camps just as I walk around.”
And with COVID-19, the problems keep stacking up. Known for a series of one-woman shows centered on personal and social issues, her experience on the neighborhood council has inspired a new endeavor about what she believes to be the greatest issue of our time, getting out the vote.
“Well, you don’t register to vote, you ain’t no voter of mine!” sang Wong. An excerpt from her one-woman show, Kristina Wong For Public Office, it’s all about encouraging citizens to vote.
Cancelled earlier this year due to COVID-19, Kristina’s recently been able to tour her new show on Zoom to encourage voters to not just vote, but vote early.
“So this white cape is influenced by Elvis,” said Wong as she explained her wardrobe. “The white pantsuit is the color of the suffrage movement, which is 100-years-old this year and that’s why it’s so important that we vote.”
Creative and resourceful, Kristina is known to sew her own props and sets for her shows and it’s a skill that’s helped her help others. When first responders couldn’t find masks, Kristina founded the Auntie Sewing Squad, a nationwide effort to provide masks for vulnerable communities. It’s a job that many feel should’ve been handled by the government.
“So I’m seeing as an artist how I can get to problems a lot faster than the government can because I’m resourceful,” said Wong. “I know how to work with no money. I know how to work around systems. I just get the job done.”
But no job is complete if you don’t fill out your ballot. Since her show premiered, Kristina’s been participating on virtual panels to discuss specific issues related to L.A. and her role as an artist during an election.
“So it’s not just about voting for a President,” said Wong. “There are so many propositions on this ballot that affect school funding, hiring practices. It’s really important to do your research.”
To Kristina, being an artist does not come at odds with being a representative for her neighborhood council. Both come with social responsibilities.
“So this is it. This is exercising your right. You got to go vote. Do this. Watch!” cheered Wong as she dropped her ballot in the outdoor ballot box at her local library.
Vote early and drop it in a ballot box.
Catch “Kristina Wong For Public Office” starting Friday, Oct 30th at 8pm on Center Theatre Group’s Digital Series, Live from the KDK.
Catch Kristina Wong For Public Office Friday, Oct 30th at 8 p.m. here.