APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborNovember 2010
In This Issue
APALA Mobilizes Voters to the Polls
AFL-CIO Executive Council Update
Support the DREAM Act: Lives Hanging in the Balance
  APALA Mobilizes Voters to the Polls
Vote Here Asian Languages

APALA's 2010 political program in Nevada educated, motivated, and mobilized immigrant voters. The civic engagement and empowerment program contacted over 10,000 voters in multiple languages. There was targeted outreach to both infrequent registered voters and registered voters who have never voted. The Las Vegas chapter also developed an innovative program this cycle to find APA voters who voted in every election, and held a congratulatory event to recognize these voters for their dedicated civic engagement.

The Washington State chapters worked in coalition with a pan-Asian American coalition called Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment (APACE).The group ran multilingual phonebanks to educate APIA voters on the 2010 election ballot initiatives and encourage infrequent voters to send in their ballots. They also enacted a Pledge to Vote campaign, where people signed cards pledging to vote in the 2010 election.

 In Texas, APALA worked with the state AFL-CIO to send voter education information to APA workers. APALA continues the work of ensuring that Asian Pacific Americans head to the polls.

  AFL-CIO Executive Council Update

On Tuesday, November 9, the AFL-CIO Executive Council met in Washington, DC to discuss the 2010-midterm election results and the Labor Movement agenda moving forward. In the shorter term, members discussed issues that would be addressed during that lame duck session and longer term, 2011 and beyond, topics included jobs and the economy, growth and organizing and repositioning the Labor Movement. APALA national staff attended the meeting and will ensure that the Asian American & Pacific Islander perspectives will be included in any decisions the Executive Council makes. Their next meeting will be February 28-March 3, 2011 in Florida.

Lifetime Warrior in the Spotlight: Richard Chu

Richard Chu2

Richard Chu is a Business Representative for the Transportation Department of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Elected by a membership based in all 50 states, Richard handles contract administration duties from negotiations to grievance appeals and arbitration. Currently, his region of responsibility includes the airports located in Washington/Dulles, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA. In addition to being an organizer, Richard is an instructor for union training classes conducted by the Machinist union.

In the month of June 2010, Chu was elected for another 4 year term. Initiated into the IAM as an employee of United Airlines, Brother Chu has 34 years of union seniority. Richard lives in Bellerose, NY with his wife Theresa and three children.

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APALA Every Vote CountsGreetings!

First of all, thank you for all of your hard work on the 2010 Midterm Elections through our Every Vote Counts political program. Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders played an integral role in the results and were the margin of difference in some local & state races.

Now, more than ever, it is clear the growing political strength of our communities is being noted by key decision and policy makers at all levels of government. It does not stop here and we will continue to build to have an even stronger presence in the elections to come. Check out the newsletter for some key highlights of our work this year.

Immediately after the election, our National staff and Executive Board hit the ground running. On November 3, APALA Executive Director Gregory Cendana joined other members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans for a meeting with Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to discuss the current issues and priorities for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders. APALA continues to ensure the voices of APA workers are heard and represented.

The following week, November 11-13, members of the National Executive Board from across the country convened in Washington DC at the AFL-CIO Headquarters. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry & Secretary Treasurer Eliseo Medina were amongst the special guest speakers at the meeting.

Moving forward, it is clear that APALA will join the labor movement in pushing a holistic proposal that will create jobs and stimulate the economy. We know that many of our members and their families are facing difficult times. Here at APALA we will continue to be a strong advocate and are looking forward to working together to advance social and economic justice for everyone!

In unity,

Luisa Blue

APALA National President

Steve LiSupport the DREAM Act: Lives Hanging in the Balance

Through community mobilizing, and a rare private bill of support from Senator Dianne Feinstein, nursing student Steve Li was just authorized to leave  the federal detention center in Arizona that he had been held in for the past two months. He  had been awaiting word on when he would be deported from the United States and separated from his family forever. He had been working hard to support his family when ICE came to grab the Li family two months ago. His parents were awaiting deportation to China, which they had originally fled in protest of the one child policy.

Meanwhile, Steve would have been sent to Peru, where his family lived after China. However, they left when he was twelve, and he has no remaining family there. Li's family was swept up after his parents had sought and been denied their request for political asylum from China. In an article, Li states, "I never knew I was a fugitive," he said. "If I knew this was my case I would have tried to fix my status, but I never had a chance to do that."

After a flurry of public support from entities including a unanimous resolution from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a resolution from the City College Board of Trustees, and APALA's Executive Board, Li's deportation, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 15, was delayed and now he is out of the detention center. Activists see Li as a perfect example of a hardworking American student who would benefit from passage of the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrant children if they entered the United States before age 15 and are attending college or serving in the military.

Although the DREAM Act failed earlier this Congress, Democratic leaders Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are committed to revisiting the bill during the lame duck legislative session. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also recently started pushing hard for the bill as well. "I'm convinced we have to educate our way to a better economy. We have to again lead the world in college graduates," said Duncan.

Hopefully, the bill will pass in time for Steve Li and other youths like him who are languishing in the system. Recently,  the Supreme Court of California issued a ruling that affirmed the legality of state laws that allow undocumented students in-state tuition.  Nine other states currently offer in-state tuition rates  to undocumented students. The legal decision has spurred Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to seek a similar bill.  APALA supports passage of the DREAM Act and other comprehensive immigration reform measures.

APALA Launches Lifetime Warrior Program

APALA is excited to launch its Lifetime Warrior program, a permanent membership program that recognizes those who have dedicated their lives to advance Asian Pacific American worker, immigrant and civil rights. Lifetime Warrior contributions will help budding programs flourish, including local worker rights hearings. Donations would also help to expand current programming, including APALA's Organizing Institute, which educates and trains young worker and college students on union organizing and the Every Vote Counts program that engages and activates infrequent Asian Pacific American voters.

To become an APALA Lifetime Member, APALA members must donate $1000. The associated benefits include special recognition at an APALA Convention, receiving a gold APALA Lifetime Warrior pin, having recognition in the APALA newsletter, receiving the APALA Worker Hearing video, receiving the APALA pioneer poster, and an APALA T-shirt. In case if donors are unable to give $1,000, there are lower giving levels with associated benefits.

"Every cent is valuable to APALA's unique work. A $500 contribution would cover the cost of sponsoring a young worker or college student to attend the APALA three-day Organizing Institute. A $1,000 contribution would cover the cost to design, print, and mail 1,500 candidate and issue comparison postcards in multiple Asian languages." said Johanna Hester, APALA National Secretary and Organizing Director for AFSCME/UDW.

To become a Lifetime Warrior or to get more information, please contact John Vu, APALA Development Consultant at johnvu@apalanet.org or at (202) 508-3733.