APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborMarch 2012
In This Issue
APALA Leaders Awarded
Featured Mentorship Pair
APALA New Jersey
APALA Los Angeles Opposes Walmart in Chinatown
APALA Kicks off Every Vote Counts Campaign
Alameda Chapter Rallies Around Occupy Member
APALA Leaders Awarded
APALA congratulates its leaders who are being recognized for their accomplishments. Gloria Caoile, former APALA Executive Director and longtime labor leader, is receiving the Trailblazer Award from the Asian American Action Fund for her leadership across sectors. In addition to being a labor leader, Caoile has been a pioneer for women's rights, and conducted humanitarian aid in disaster zones across the world. Caoile was also profiled by Las Vegas newspaper Asian Journal

Also being honored this month is Kent Wong, Founding President of APALA, and Aileen Mercado, a Baltimore teacher. Asian Pacific Americans for Progress named them two of their Unsung Heroes of 2011. 
 Mentorship Pair 


On March 22, I joined my mentor Darren Shiroma, Executive Assistant to the International President at AFA, for CWA's national day of solidarity to rally against Verizon's corporate greed.   

Accompanied by LIUNA, CWA and other union members we marched throughout downtown DC chanting "What do we want, a contract, when do we want it, now!"  


 The national day of action comes as 45,000 hard working men and women of Verizon are still working without a contract while the Verizon CEO's compensation tripled to $23.5 million.


This march allowed me to show my solidarity for workers at Verizon as well the middle class across the country who fight everyday for their future.  

-Submitted by Heather Laverty, TWU Communications Coordinator 

APALA New Jersey

APALA New Jersey is underway and is looking for folks to play an active role in building the chapter. Please contact toshiabe1@mac.com or kwaih@seiu1199.org for more information.  


Also in New Jersey, local activists are rallying to the cause of Saul Timisela, an undocumented Indonesian American who has sought sanctuary in the Reformed Church of Highland Park to protest his final order of deportation. He has multiple humanitarian reasons for seeking a stay of deportation: his health issues, his US-born children, wife living in the USA, fear of persecution if he were to return, etc. If you wish to help, please contact  cstanford@rutgersaaup.orgĀ  

APALA Joins CLUW Celebration 

APALA members and activists celebrated with the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) leaders earlier this month at its national Working Women's Award Celebration in Maryland. AAPI union women joined together in honor labor leaders, including AFT President Randi Weingarten.  

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From the APALA archives. 

In 1992, over 500 Asian Pacific American (APA) labor & community activists from around the country gathered in Washington DC for the founding convention of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. Back then, APAs were a smaller percentage of the population, but the AFL-CIO had the vision and foresight to welcome us into the House of Labor. Now, the APA population is exploding with double and triple digit increases in key states like Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.


We are less than one month away from celebrating APALA's 20th Anniversary & the kickoff of our Education Fund on Thursday, April 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. As we gather 20 years later, we celebrate our accomplishments while continuing to build our work into the future.


This month, APALA's Executive Director Gregory Cendana made history and we are proud of his success. Earlier this month he was elected to be a DC delegate to the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Gregory garnered the top number of votes in his race, and will be the first Filipino to represent DC at the DNC convention. He is the youngest of the 15 delegates elected to the post. A couple of weeks later, Gregory was officially appointed to serve on the AFL-CIO General Board, and is the only Asian Pacific American and youngest person to serve on this body.


While we have made many gains, our opponents continue to increase their attacks on unions, workers and immigrants. Despite the challenges, APALA remains resilient and grounded by our members who keep us strong. Given the magnitude of the job losses experienced in the Great Recession and ongoing global economic weakness, we need bold solutions to match the problems we face.

Will you join or renew your membership with APALA? For us, Every Member Counts.


From investing in infrastructure, keeping jobs in America, aiding our cities and states, keeping homeowners in their homes and continuing to reform Wall Street, it's time to commit to putting America back to work. We hope you will join us as members, at our 20th anniversary celebration and as we continue to fight for social and economic justice for all in the many years to come.



In solidarity,  


Johanna Hester

APALA National President


APALA Kicks Off 2012 Every Vote Counts Campaign


APALA's civic engagement program, Every Vote Counts, returns in full swing in three key states; Virginia, Washington and Nevada. The effort is spearheaded by the DC, Seattle and Las Vegas chapters. The program will focus on registering new Asian Pacific American voters and convening community members in three cities for the spring season:

  • March 31st in Annandale, VA
  • April 14th in Seattle, WA
  • May 12th in Las Vegas, NV

According to the 2010 U.S. census, Asian Americans are the largest growing demographic in the nation. The political power of Asian Pacific Americans is rising and Every Vote Counts will tap into this potential. The program will bring union members, immigrant workers, community advocates and students of all ages together to ensure that our communities are heard. APALA is ready to make every vote count in this election year!


Dinner for Mara Randle
APALA Alameda Chapter Rallies Around Occupy Member   

Over sixty students, trade unionists, APALA members, family and friends of APALA member Mara Randle celebrated the dropping of charges at a March 25 dinner in Oakland's Chinatown. The evening was a great celebration of a hard-fought victory.  The gathering reflected the multi-generational organizing effort by labor, students and the community that helped sustain Mara in her fight against an unjust arrest and beating by Oakland police officers on Oct. 25.


The organizing and mobilizing effort of APALA and the Alameda Labor Council was joined by Mara's network of friends and students at Oakland High School. When students heard about her arrest and beating, seeing the video posted on YouTube, Oakland High students organized by collecting signatures on petitions,  telling her that "Ms. Randle, We've got your back!" Students organized and educated others about her fight against unjust charges, defending Mara's civil and constitutional rights. Students also took time to attend court proceedings to show support for Mara.


The chapter recognized exceptional efforts by Mara's defense attorney, Daro Inouye. He understood the serious injustice against Mara and firmly stood with her throughout the legal fight, ultimately securing the unconditional dropping of all charges.   


At the dinner, many students testified to their experience with Ms. Randle as a teacher and mentor. These students expressed their respect and great affection for Mara as a compassionate educator and a progressive fighter. Mara's mother, Liz Kimura, spoke about Mara's upbringing in APALA and SEIU, and how her commitment to social justice was shaped by her involvement in the trade union movement.


Mara expressed her deep appreciation for the support shown by labor, her friends and family, and most of all to her many students. She also said that she was joining a class action legal effort with others who were mistreated by the police during the events of October 25. The fight for justice and to defend the first amendment right to free speech continues.


The dinner was sponsored by IBEW Local 595, AFSCME Local 2428, the Alameda Labor Council, the Oakland Education Association and individuals.


Los Angeles Chapter Opposes Walmart in Chinatown

APALA and other community groups rallied against the planned opening of a Walmart in Los Angeles Chinatown. Rep. Judy Chu, elected officials, and business owners spoke about the negative impact the store will have on the local economy and immigrant entrepreneurs.      

"APALA has always supported good jobs in our communities. We have fought Walmart's low paying jobs in Asian-American communities like El Monte and here in Chinatown," said Lucia Lin, Executive Board Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of APALA. "We believe there should be community input and job standards."