APALA Wire
APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of Labor August 2008
In This Issue
Featured Union
Seattle APALA's GOTV Power
Making College More Affordable
Featured Union
Uno and Yee small
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has several Asian Pacific Americans in high-ranking positions.  Victor Uno (pictured left) was a Founding Member of APALA. He was elected in 2002 as the Business Manager for IBEW Local 595 and was the first mainland Japanese American to attain this position.  Previously he had served as President.  On the East Coast, Michael Yee (pictured right) has been Treasurer of Local 3 since 2006.  He is also the Vice President of the NY APALA Chapter.  Both were appointed to serve on IBEW's Committee on Diversity and Full Inclusion at the request of IBEW President Edward D. Hill.  The commission was formed to grow the union and increase the active participation of more minority members.  Uno and Yee are excellent examples and leaders of the IBEW's commitment to diversity and Asian Pacific American workers. 
 

Did You Know?

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) recently negotiated a contract that includes Id al-Fitr  (the conclusion of Ramadan) as a day off. They are the first union to negotiate a Muslim holiday as part of a contract. We salute the RWDSU's progressive and inclusive vision, and encourage all unions to similarly support their diverse memberships.

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Our members are fired up and ready to go and eager to assert APA workers' voices in the workplace and at the ballot box.  The Washington D.C. chapter is focusing on voter registration, education, mobilization and election protection and coordinating with unions and community groups including Virginia New Majority, Asian Pacific Legal Resource Center and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.  Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) are rising through union ranks, mobilizing voters, and making sweeping policy changes.
 
For example, you might know about APALA's support for Filipino Veterans Equity and a recent victory for Filipino WWII veterans, but did you know that APAs were valiant fighters in the U.S. Civil War?  Rep. Mike Honda helped correct historical records by passing a resolution to honor the APAs who fought to create this country, but who were denied the right to become U.S. citizens.  It is my sincerest hope that Filipino WWII veterans can be honored in this lifetime, and the sooner the better.  Read on for other legislative accomplishments this month, including increased funding for Asian American and Pacific Islander serving colleges and universities.
 
Keep in touch with us about your organizing and political campaigns!  We know you're keeping busy, and we'd love to hear from you.
 
In solidarity,
Malcolm Amado Uno
Executive Director

Seattle APALA organize
Seattle APALA's GOTV Power 
Asian Pacific Americans are a vital swing vote in Washington State, and the Seattle chapter is at the center of the activity.  The local chapter is implementing its political program through a community coalition, APIA-Vote Washington '08 (WA '08).  They have partnered with Raising Our Asian Representation (ROAR) and APIA-Vote, and Chinese Information Service Center has provided office space for the coalition's field organizer, Jared M. Jonson, former Executive Assistant for the Washington State Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs.  His extensive knowledge of APA youth and communities has contributed greatly to our progress.  Through WA '08, Seattle APALA launched an exciting PSA and poster contest for youth artists to capture the theme of "Our Voice, Our Democracy: Civic Engagement in
Communities of Color."
 
In addition to promoting voter registration and education, the chapter is focusing on translating a gubernatorial candidates comparison flyer in conjunction with the Washington State Labor Council.  At this time, the languages include Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.  Members plan to follow up the flyer mailing with in-language phone calls.  The chapter is also developing plans for an APA voter contact program focusing on the 8th Congressional District, as well as coordinating with Labor to Neighbor and other union efforts.
 
The significant role that APA will play at every level of the upcoming elections cannot be stressed enough.  Every vote truly counts, especially when we recall that the Governor's race in 2004 was decided by less than 200 votes.
 
On August 19, 2008, the Wing Luke Asian Museum unveiled its new Community Dialogues exhibit featuring a history of APA Civic Engagement and ways to get involved.  WA '08 participated throughout the planning process on themes, oral histories and activities.  (Information provided by Tracy Lai.)
Making College More Affordable 
APALA celebrates the passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R.4137) by the U.S. House on July 31, 2008. 
The bill includes the historic Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions program.  Similar to programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the AAPISI program is designed to provide greater opportunities and services for underserved college students, including low-income and APIA students. 

The program first passed in September 2007 and H.R.4137 will extend it through 2013 with increased funding (up to $30 million per year) and expanded activities.  Now colleges and universities can access funding for AAPI students for tutoring, research and data collection, community outreach programs, and partnerships with community organizations.  This legislation will make it easier and more affordable for APA students and workers to attend college.

APALA worked with the APIA community as part of NCAPA and also with the broader labor community to pass this historic legislation.  Matt Finucane of the National Education Association and founding Executive Director of APALA said, "The passage of a permanent serving institution designation was a great victory for the AAPI community and our leaders on the Hill and an important  sign that Congress is willing to look beyond the model minority myth and see the diversity and challenges of individual AAPI communities."
 
OI Group web
Organizing Institute Graduates: Where Are They Now?
Initiated in 1993, the APALA Organizing Institute is the single most effective program designed to train and inspire a generation of Asian Pacific American labor activists.  From May 2-4, 2008, APALA hosted the largest Organizing Institute in our history, training close to 50 participants in Los Angeles, California.  You can watch the trainers share their insights on youtube here.  APALA is proud to announce that at least eight of our graduates have joined the labor movement:
 
     Lani Cardenas is interning with SEIU, Local 500 in Baltimore,  Maryland
     Bernadette Ellorin was hired by SEIU, Local 1199 as an organizer in New York, New York
     Carolynne Komata interned with UNITE HERE during the summer in the Bay Area
     Michael Mikawa interned with the APALA National Office over this past summer in Washington D.C.
     Van Nguyen was hired by SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) in New York, New York
     Will Nguyen interned with the APALA National Office over this past summer in Washington D.C.
     Lucy Oh joined Change To Win as an organizer in Los Angeles, California
     Justine Ouano is currently participating in the SEIU WAVE program

We wish you the best in your organizing careers and don't forget to send us news!