APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborMay 2012
In This Issue
Chapter Spotlight
Chapter Updates
NCAPA Policy Summit
National Unions Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Las Vegas Celebrates Civic Engagement
White House Initiative on AAPIs Holds Policy Briefing
Chapter Spotlight
APALA NY Grace Meng
APALA New York met on May 29th to endorse Assemblywoman Grace Meng for Congress. APALA New York Chapter Secretary and National Executive Board member Alex Hing (UNITE HERE) stated:


"The APALA New York Chapter is enthusiastically endorsing Assemblywoman Grace Meng for US Congress in the Sixth Congressional District in Queens.  Grace is a strong supporter of organized labor and a fighter for immigrant rights. If elected, she will be the first Asian American Congressperson from the East Coast and as such will put forward a progressive, inclusive agenda for the entire community.  We urge people in Queens to vote for her in the Primary Election on June 26th and for everyone to work hard to ensure her victory."

Additionally, APALA members were amongst the 600 rank and file leaders who celebrated APA Heritage Month at DC 37 earlier in the month. At the event, they awarded Associate Director Caroline Fan for her service and leadership to the APA community.
Chapter Updates

The Alameda APALA chapter organized a successful grass roots effort to get the district attorney to drop unjust charges against local APALA chapter executive board member, Mara Randle, who was peacefully protesting the eviction of Occupy Oakland In October, 2011. Alameda APALA is hosting a summer BBQ on June 24, 2013 in Redwood Park, Oakland, CA for members, families, and community partners. Please contact Kim Geron for more information.

The APALA Los Angeles chapter showed the APALA 20th anniversary video followed by Kent's comments for building forward our work, inspiring everyone - long time and new members alike.  The chapter also elected Nam Le of UFCW 770 as their new president. The chapter thanks outgoing president Raahi Reddy for her service and wishes her well in her new job in Oregon.


DC chapter APAHM

APALA DC celebrated the contributions APA workers have made to the American labor movement and presented an interactive workshop (pictured above) on the power of union representation and economic justice. The presenters included new APALA Board Member Darren Shiroma (Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Executive Assistant to the President), Basav Sen (UFCW Senior Researcher), and Woong Chang (ROC-DC Policy Chair.) The event built upon the success of the local APA Workers Right's Hearing with 70 labor activists, community organizations and allies. The chapter also conducted voter registration at the annual Dragon Boat festival in Georgetown.    


APALA Seattle held its 20th annual banquet on May 4th, 

2012 with more than 130 attendees from various unions as well as students involved in the labor movement. THe fundraiser will provide opportunities for youth development in labor and social justice involving the APA community, such as sponsoring youth to the APALA
Convention or an organizing training retreat on behalf of the chapter.
APALA Organizing Institute in DC


June 29 - July 1, 2012 at the AFL-CIO Headquarters  

816 16th Street NW


APPLY TODAY! APALA & AFL-CIO present the biannual Organizing Institute (OI) in Washington, DC from June 29-July 1st! Gain leadership and organizing skills, engage with union Asian Pacific American leaders, and discover job opportunities with unions!The Organizing Institute seeks to help build the union movement primarily through identifying, training and developing organizers from our membership, staff, community and college campuses across the country. For more information, visit the  OI application page or contact dbui@apalanet.org.

APALA Partner News


APALA will be co-sponsoring Asian Pacific Americans for Progress' National Townhall on Bullying & Hate Crimes-Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now. It will feature Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32), CAIR-SF Executive Director Zahra Billoo, OCA Executive Director Tom Hayashi, Asian American Justice Center Executive Director Mee Moua on Saturday, June 23, 2012.


Campaign for America's Future invites interested parties to register and join a host of progressive leaders at the Take Back America conference on June 18-20th in DC.

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I want to thank our members and partners for working with APALA to ensure that labor and workers rights continue to be a core component of our Asian Pacific American Heritage.


As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month comes to close, we must remind ourselves of the advancements our community has made as well as the work we still need to accomplish to ensure equality for all.


APALA staff and members were part of history when President Barack Obama made his first appearance in front of a national Asian Pacific American audience at the 18th Annual Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Gala on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.


Prior to the President's speech, he met with a group of APAs including APALA's Executive Director Gregory Cendana and Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asians All Leading Together, who shared the NCAPA 2012 Policy Blueprint for Action: Our Communities. Our Priorities. Our Country. Gregory also urged the President to understand the role of the Asian Pacific American and labor communities; especially as we head into the November election.


We are moving full speed ahead with our APALA Every Vote Counts Program! As we have always done, we will play a critical role in Asian Pacific American voter registration, education and turn out.


Just as every vote counts, every member counts as well. Will you join us by becoming a member today?  


In solidarity,

Johanna Hester

APALA National President 


National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans Policy Summit


Housing & Economic Justice

APALA is proud to co-chair the Housing & Economic Justice Committee of the National Council on Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) with the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD).


As part of NCAPA's Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Summit, APALA & National CAPACD hosted a policy roundtable on Housing, Community Development, Small Business, Workforce Discrimination and Worker Protections.


A special thank you goes to Casiano Corpus, a Stations Casino worker and organizing committee member from Culinary Workers Local 226 in Las Vegas, Lelaine Bigelow of Congresswoman Judy Chu's Office and Phil Tom, Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Labor for joining Gregory and Caroline as panelists. (Photo credit: Ken Liu, Culinary 226)  



APALA was doubly represented on the same day at the NCAPA Immigration Roundtable, where Caroline Fan and Seattle chapter member Yuki Suren, an undocumented student, spoke movingly about the need for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, recognizing that about 10 percent of undocumented students are APA. Caroline said, "America was built out of the dreams and sweat of immigrant workers, and if we are going to be a prosperous, future-facing country, we need to include our most talented young people - regardless of immigration status."  


Yuki shared her own hopes and experiences: "Passing the Dream Act will help me and many other good hard working people who just simply want to survive. It will help me to fulfill my dreams, serve my community and contribute to this nation which I consider my home. Please put yourself in my position, and do not punish me for the sacrifice that my parents made for a better life for me. Our immigration system especially victimizes immigrants' children who had no say in coming here."  


Other speakers included Congressman Mike Honda (CA), Angela Arboleda, Senior Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Morna Ha, Executive Director of NAKASEC.  


Immigration reform remains a central and driving goal of the APA community. To that end, yesterday Caroline and other NCAPA representatives met with key White House staff to discuss the APA community's specific concerns and needs on immigration. 

National Unions Celebrate APA Heritage Month   


SEIU International celebrated APA Heritage month with traditional Indian and Korean dance performances as well as a fiery and inspiring conversation with heavy audience participation from SEIU staff and workers around the model minority myth. APALA Associate Director Caroline Fan spoke on the high levels of APA unemployment, rising student loan costs, and the 99 percent. She was joined in a fishbowl discussion by Woong Chang, a member of Restaurant Opportunities Center - DC, Rogie Legaspi (AFT member from Baltimore), Tom Hayashi (Executive Director of the Organization of Chinese Americans), and Stan Lou (President of OCA-Greater Washington DC). The room was overflowing, and one of the SEIU workers in attendance was inspired to join APALA for the first time ever, writing in: "I definitely identified with most of the issues that were mentioned and I think it's really important to talk about the issues surrounding our lives and circumstances here in America and to educate and/or start having deep conversations to understand each other and unite us all."


AFSCME International kicked off APA Heritage Month with a screening of "Grassroots Rising," which highlighted the stories of APA workers organizing in LA. AFSCME staff also gathered to celebrate the contributions of APA labor activists at an Ice Cream Social. AFSCME staff had a chance to show off their skills at a karaoke open-mic, which included a special performance from Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders. The AFSCME APAHM Committee ended May with a round table on APAs in the workplace with Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice. Additionally, AFSCME staff participated each week in an APA Trivia Contest. A month-long silent auction featuring many unique Asian items was also held, in which proceeds will be donated to AALEAD. 

Las Vegas Chapter Celebrates Civic Engagement 


On May 12, the Las Vegas APALA chapter held a celebration for APA voters in Nevada. APAs have had explosive population growth in Nevada, with an 116% increase from the last Census - more than any other state.   


"The APALA Las Vegas Chapter recognizes the importance for Asian Pacific Americans in Nevada to exercise their voting power. We have community partners who are excited about and supportive of the tremendous increase and growth of AAPIs in our state," said Gloria T. Caoile, APALA Las Vegas President and National Political Chair. "We will continue to register voters and then implement voter outreach and education to ensure that APAs are aware of their voting rights."


Other luminaries who attended the event include Rozita Lee, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Commissioner, May Manahanan with the Clark County Nevada - Election Department, and other Asian American veterans, business leaders, union members, and community leaders. The event received a full half page of coverage in the Asian Journal.  

White House Initiative on AAPIs Holds Policy Briefing 


WHIAAPI's Heritage Month Community Leaders Briefing was held at the White House on May 9, 2012.  This convening brought together over 100 national, community and government leaders to hear from senior White House officials on critical issues to the AAPI community, including the economy, immigration, healthcare and education.  


APALA community leaders including WHIAAPI Commissioners Rozita Lee and May Ying Chen and APALA NYC leaders Helen Chin and Pat Leung engaged with Congresswoman Judy Chu, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Michael Strautmanis, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, Under Secretary for Education Dr. Martha Kanter, and Senior Policy Advisors in the White House Domestic Policy Council Felicia Escobar and Portia Wu.

Read more about the program here and watch a video of the briefing  here.