Over 500 convention attendees from over 20 unions and 40 community organizations around the country joined us for APALA's 13th Biennial Convention, Organizing in Solidarity, Building One Vision Forward, in San Diego, CA. Other highlights include:
- Organized over 75 speakers through 5 plenaries, 14 workshops, 3 summits and 8 caucuses including a plenary of with 7 elected union women leaders. This plenary included Luisa Blue (SEIU), Maria Elena Durazo (UNITE-HERE), Esther Lopez (UFCW), Becky Pringle (NEA), Laura Reyes (AFSCME), Mary Cathryn Ricker (AFT) and moderated by Josie Camacho (Alameda Labor Council).
- Joined by 69 scholarship recipients including more than 40 undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander youth from across the country, and the elected National Officers: United Domestic Workers of America/AFSCME 3930 Special Assistant to the Executive Director and AFSCME International Vice-President Johanna Puno Hester, Monica Thammarath (1st Vice President), Kim Geron (2nd Vice President), Tracy Lai (Secretary) and Michael Yee (Treasurer)
- Elected Yves Gomes of UFCW 400 to the APALA National Executive Board. He becomes the first undocumented and youngest person ever to serve on the highest governing body. To read APALA’s Press Release on electing the first undocumented & youngest person ever to our National Executive Board, please visit: www.apalanet.org/press-releases
"I am honored to be on the National Executive Board of APALA and I am astounded at APALA’s boldness in investing their trust in me as a young worker who is also undocumented. With my position on the board, I want to serve my undocumented and labor communities in fostering meaningful and strategic dialogue between each other so our movement can grow. I am incredibly humbled at the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in APALA, fellow young workers, undocumented youth and represent my union, UFCW Local 400.”
"A lot of amazing things came out of this year’s APALA convention, we were able to build with labor and our new found undocuAPI community, and it was amazing to see Yves taking on a new leadership role. It’ll make a positive impact on the undocuAPI movement and I’m excited for what’s to come."
- Grounded the convention with strategy summits on undocumented AAPIs, Young Workers, the Movement for Black Lives, as well as a Townhall on Mass Criminalization
- Marched in support of the UNITE-HERE Local 30 workers fighting for a fair contract
- Held a rally calling out Senator Diane Feinstein for challenging the California Trust Act and scapegoating immigrant communities. To read more coverage of the action, please visit Balitang America’s page at: http://www.balitangamerica.tv/labor-groups-dreamers-rally-for-immigration-at-apala-conference/. To view highlights of the action, please go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNj86mr0uog
- 20 Resolutions were passed by the APALA Delegates. To read all of the resolutions, please go click here.
Here is what APALA elected leaders had to say about their experience:
"I am truly proud of the work we did to put this convention together - it was a collaborative effort. The team of strong labor leaders from Kent Wong, Luisa Blue to Josie Camacho and staffers led by Gregory Cendana was top notch! The local support from the United Domestic Workers of America/AFSCME, Local 3930 went above and beyond to make sure our APALA Convention was a success and indeed it was! For the first time, labor, through APALA, housed a powerful convening in San Diego of workers, students and community members who spoke the same language of love, passion and drive to move our movement forward. Our goal was to not just be an ally to other movements, but rather a co-conspirator for all of us that are being targeted, marginalized and criminalized. APALA stands with other movements trying to achieve workers’ rights and you cannot achieve workers’ rights unless Black Lives Matter and Immigration and Criminal Justice Reform is achieved in this country. Kaya Natin! Si Se Puede!"
-Johanna Puno Hester (AFSCME), APALA National President
"This year's 13th biannual APALA convention built upon its rich traditions of bringing together AAPI unionists, students, and community allies to celebrate the victories and confront the challenges confronting all working people and the AAPI communities. The timely discussion of critical issues in the workplace, in education, politics, and in our communities by a wide array of speakers was well received by the 500 participants. There was also strong support for the campaign Black Lives Matter, for comprehensive immigration reform and support for our immigrant youth, and the need to reform the criminal justice system among other issues. I am appreciative of the leadership of APALA to bring together inter generations to build unity and continue the struggle for social and economic justice for AAPIs and all working people.”
-Kim Geron (CFA), APALA 2nd Vice President
"The APALA Convention was a powerful gathering of multi generations of Asian Pacific Islanders who came together to address the most pressing issues of our time including “Black Lives Matter” and the school to prison and deportation pipeline. We did this together, from young to seasoned, undocumented to labor leaders- all renouncing the model minority myth, and building the broader movement with communities of color and labor. I am honored and grateful to be part of this exciting and hopeful movement as a new APALA Executive Board member.”
-Arlene Inouye (UTLA), APALA National Executive Board At-Large