APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborApril 2012
In This Issue
NYC Updates and Upcoming Events
Chapter Spotlight
APALA's 20th Anniversary Celebration
APALA Welcomes Next Gen
NYC Updates and Upcoming Events
APALA New York will be holding a general membership session on May 29th at AFSCME DC 37. Please contact Chapter President Lenny Moy for details. On May 18th, DC 37 will also host its own APA Heritage Month event for its Asian American Caucus members.

The Alliance of South Asian American Labor, headed by APALA Executive Board Member Maf Uddin, endorsed Grace Meng for Congress. If elected, Meng would be the first Asian American Congressmember from New York.

Also, please support the premiere of the APALA: Celebrating 20 Years video at the inaugural New York Workers Unite Film Festival this May 6th. Film directors Emmelle Israel and Ja-rei Wang will be present and joined by the festival's advisory board members and APALA activists May Ying Chen and Caroline Fan.
Chapter Spotlight:

The SF chapter of APALA has been very active. On April 5, chapter members joined the San Francisco Labor Council COPE Banquet Honoring Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi for her 25th Leadership in Congress. On April 26, chapter members supported the "Jobs For Justice" Award Dinner Night honoring domestic workers. And on May Day,
3) May 1, March in the main streets of San Francisco as part of the on-going occupy movement and the campaign to tax the rich in California.

The chapter will be holding a reception dinner and labor tour  Japanese Labor Leader Okada Norio's visit in the SF Bay Area on May 8, 2012. Please contact chapter president Daz Lamparas for details. 
APALA Los Angeles

The Los Angeles chapter continues to play an influential role in trying to keep corporate behemoth Walmart out of Los Angeles Chinatown, and has filed an appeal of the building permits. The chapter sponsored a resolution opposing the building of the Chinatown Walmart at the recent APALA National Executive Board meeting, which passed. APALA LA also passed a resolution in support of justice for Melissa Roxas, a Filipina American poet and activist who became the victim of a horrific human rights violation when traveling in the Philippines on a medical mission. 

APALA Seattle
The Seattle chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance will hold its Annual Dinner & Silent Auction on Friday evening, May 4 at the South Seattle Community College's Brockey Conference Center, 6000 16th Ave SW. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 ($35 for students & seniors). To reserve tickets or for more info, call Lika 206-261-6722.  

After wrapping up a highly successful voter registration drive earlier in April which drew APALA member and WA State Rep. Bob Hasegawa along with other elected officials. The Seattle Times covered the event:

Tracy Lai, APALA's Seattle chapter president and Seattle Central Community College faculty, believes that Washington is a "key state" because of redistricting and population changes. She thinks that registering more AAPI voters can make a big difference in the upcoming elections.

The redistricting, which established the state's first majority-minority congressional district, as well as four majority-minority legislative districts, reflects population growth that was identified by the 2010 Census.

The Seattle chapter will hold its Annual Dinner & Silent Auction on May 4 at the South Seattle Community College's Brockey Conference Center, 6000 16th Ave SW. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 ($35 for students & seniors). To reserve tickets or for more info, call Lika 206-261-6722. 
APALA DC Upcoming Events


APALA DC invites its supporters to a May 12th APA Heritage Month Event at 501 3rd St NW from 11am-1:30pm. The event is co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO and will include an interactive workshop on labor unions, APAs and economic justice.

Bleeding Blue: AAPIs for Reelecting Obama Kick Off
Come join the DC chapter in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and find out what you can do to keep states, and our country, BLUE. Join APALA-DC and our allies on May 7 as we come together to discuss this upcoming election, its significance to our community and what we can do to make sure to keep Virginia blue! RSVP here.

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NEB 20th Anniversary

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! May is always an opportunity to celebrate the successes of our community while recognizing the work that still needs to be done moving forward.


Last week, members of the National Executive Board met in Washington, DC. We welcomed our newest member to the NEB, Darren Shiroma. Brother Shiroma serves as the Executive Assistant to the Association of Flight Attendants and was appointed by the Communication Workers of America. APALA is excited about him joining our board and look forward to strengthening our partnership with CWA.


During the board meeting we set out an ambitious agenda that includes our Every Vote Counts political campaign for the 2012 election, two Organizing Institutes and the launch of our Young Leaders Council. With the growing Asian Pacific American population and workforce, APALA's role in civic participation in more crucial than ever and we hope you join us by helping register, educate and turn out APA voters.


While the board members were in town, we also celebrated APALA's 20th anniversary. On Thursday, April 26 in the AFL-CIO, almost 200 APALA founding members, activists and allies packed the room as we honored Representative Judy Chu, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee, and Matt Finucane. We'd like to give a special thanks to AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, Advisor to AFT President Ann Mitchell & NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle for joining us that evening as well.


Part of my reflection while in Washington, DC was to be thankful for the struggle and commitment of our predecessors. APALA wouldn't have been able to accomplish what we have had without the strong foundation our founders built.


As we look to the next 20 years for APALA, we hope that you help us celebrate this historic milestone by making a tax-deductible contribution or joining as a member.  


Again, thank you for your continued commitment to serving Asian Pacific American workers. I am proud of what APALA has accomplished and look forward to what's to come.


In solidarity,

Johanna Hester

APALA National President

APALA's 20th Anniversary Celebration


On the evening of April 26, 2012, APALA members and allies recreated history by uniting in the Gompers Room of the AFL-CIO to celebrate APALA's two decades of growth and victories since its founding in 1992. The 180 guests from the National Executive Board, Young Leaders Council, fellow unions and affiliates, and allied community organizations were welcomed by emcee Gloria Caoile. The program opened with a documentary highlighting the need for the historical founding of APALA and its importance in the APA and labor communities till today.  

Asian Pacific Labor Alliance: Celebrating 20 Years
Asian Pacific Labor Alliance: Celebrating 20 Years


Honorees included Representative Judy Chu (CA-32), AFSCME President Gerald McEntee and APALA's founding Executive Director Matthew Finucane, who serves as Senior Policy Analyst at the NEA. Speakers included AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle, Ann Mitchell, Advisor to AFT President Randi Weingarten, APALA National President Johanna Hester and APALA National Treasurer Michael Yee.


APALA's Executive Director Gregory Cendana spoke of the significance of the youth in continuing the labor movement and fostering APALA's development for the next 20 years.  Cendana introduced the Young Leaders Council and announced the launch of APALA's 501c3 arm. 


APALA National Executive Board Members took part in the celebration as supporters from various unions, community organizations and coalitions joined in congratulating APALA's achievements. The 20th Anniversary also came full circle with founding APALA members Marian Thom and Alex Hing present.

APALA Welcomes Next Gen with Young Leaders Council   

By Katrina Dizon, DC Chapter President. From the AFL-CIO Now Blog:


The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) in recent days celebrated two big milestones: The AFL-CIO constituency group reached its 20th anniversary and launched APALA's Young Leaders Council.    


The Young Leaders Council is the first of its kind to bring together Asian Pacific American youth from around the country to discuss issues in their communities that matter most to their generation. This coalition unites a diverse group of young people from different ethnic, geographic and work backgrounds. Members range from young professionals and workers (both union and nonunion), students, activists and community leaders.

During APALA's 20th anniversary convention last week, founding members, national leaders and activists from across the country joined a new generation of emerging leaders, helping them learn their history in the labor movement.


Says Brandon Leung, APALA-NY representative:

The Young Leaders Council provides me an opportunity to give back to the Asian Pacific American community and the growing youth demographic by developing initiatives based on APALA's core values. As an IBEW Local 3 apprentice, I want to work with my chapter to develop a broader youth base that understands the vision of this alliance and its importance in advancing the labor movement's agenda.


In addition to APALA representatives from chapters across the country, we welcomed representatives from such various student and community organizations as:

  • United States Students Association (USSA), 
  • Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), 
  • United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and
  • Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) and a representative from an Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). 

AANAPISI representative Norah Ledoux says being part of the Young Leaders Council "is important because it allows for me to be a voice for Pacific Islanders around the country and bring forth the needs and issues that are rising up within my community."


Coming from an AANAPISI, I am able to represent our unique needs and share the stories of the Pacific Islander community to affect change on a broader level.


The wealth of knowledge and experience young leaders brought to the table reflects their diverse experiences, and the Young Leaders Council looks to hone in on these ideas to engage APALA's leaders and members in true inter-generational dialogue.  


"As a member of the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), I've come to know the importance of establishing a coalition between students and workers," says Kevin Huang, representative of SLAP, a joint project of USSA & Jobs with Justice.


Acknowledging the solidarity between both groups is something that I believe to be fundamental in building a powerful force in fighting for economic justice. It is by leveraging the strength of APALA and SLAP that we can effectively create change in our communities, especially for Asian Pacific Americans.       


Working to develop the next generation of organizers has always been a focus of the organization since its inception. With the formation of the APALA's Young Leaders Council and John Delloro mentorship program that pairs students and young workers with seasoned labor activists, we are hoping to strengthen and expand inter-generational dialogue.


The Young Leaders Council will work under the guidance of APALA's National Executive Board to help develop a dynamic organizing and political strategy that is innovative and inclusive. The Young Leaders Council is also a part of the AFL-CIO's Young Workers Advisory Council and will work closely with members of the Generational Alliance.