May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. AFGE is happy to report that, for the first time, our union has an Asian American Pacific Islanders group specific to AFGE members.
The Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AAPINH) community consists of more than 50 ethnic groups, speaking over 100 languages, with diverse histories, cultures, identities, and modern-day experiences.
In recognition of the need to address the distinct problems, racism, and discrimination facing this group, AFGE’s National Executive Council in November adopted a resolution put forward by the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments to establish a new constituency group called APOWER, which stands for Asian Pacific Organized Workers Empowering Representation.
APOWER membership is open to all AAPINH members and their allies. Since being recognized last year, APOWER has been meeting on a consistent monthly basis. SSA Local 3615 Vice President Dennis Chong was nominated and selected to be the chairperson. TSA Local 1234 President Concetta Fialkowski was selected to be the vice chair, and TSA Local 1230 Executive Board Secretary Gilbert Galam was selected to be the secretary for APOWER.
APOWER exists to unite and mobilize AFGE members in support of AAPINH members and work alongside them to advance understanding, equity, and equality
APOWER members will have the opportunity to share, hear, and feel personal experiences, which enables us to better understand and serve the AAPINH community in AFGE and among our labor allies.
Not sure how to celebrate the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? Here are a few recommendations:
1. Attend A.P.O.W.E.R. Hour
The virtual panel & Happy Hour will take place on May 17 from 7:00 pm -9:00 pm (EST).
Register in advance for this webinar at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sBacrsScQTqSDpboBDxUwg
2. Explore places associated with AAPINH heritage in the U.S. curated by the National Park Service.
Learn more about historical sites like the Granada Relocation Center in Colorado, which was one of the 10 centers in the U.S. during World War II used for interning Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent; New York City’s Chinatown, which became the largest Chinatown in the U.S.; The Forty Acres in California, which became the headquarters for the United Farm Workers of America where Filipino and Mexican farmworkers led by Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta joined forces to fight for higher wages and better living conditions; and much more.
3. Join the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO
APALA is the first and only national organization of AAPI workers and allies advancing worker, immigrant, and civil rights. Backed with strong support of the AFL-CIO, APALA serves as the bridge between the AAPI community and the broader labor movement.
APALA has more than 20 chapters and pre-chapters and a national office in Washington, D.C. AFGE is a proud sponsor of APALA. Our very own Dennis Chong sits on APALA’s national executive board. Join APALA here.
To celebrate the AAPI Heritage Month, APALA is organizing several online events including panels discussing and AAPI women in labor and racism faced by APPI workers in the U.S. and Asia. Check them out here.
4. Join the Smithsonian’s The Future of Asian Food in America online discussion
On May 5, a panel of chefs, advocates, and activists will be discussing the future of Chinatowns across the country in the COVID-19 era and anti-Asian racism. Click here to register.
5. Enjoy artworks produced by AAPI artists
Enjoy artworks curated by the Smithsonian. Check out the National Museum of Asian Art in person or online.