Sumi Haru was a talented actor who appeared in diverse roles in movies, on television, and in the theater. She was also a TV talk show host, a popular public speaker, and published an autobiography entitled 'Iron Lotus.' She first joined SAG in 1968 and AFTRA in 1972 where she continued to serve on their national board of directors for nearly 40 years. Haru was an integral part of SAG-AFTRA, serving as the interim president of the Screen Actors Guild and also as the recording secretary. Additionally, she was a co-founder and national chair of SAG’s Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee and also was the Western national chair of AFTRA’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee. She helped develop SAG’s affirmative action conferences as well as career days focused on equal employment for all. In 1995, Haru went on to become the first Asian American woman to serve on the AFL-CIO Executive Committee as the National Vice President where she helped lead the American labor movement for 6 years.
“As an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) pioneer that paved the way for AAPIs and other communities of color in the labor movement, APALA is grateful for Sumi Haru’s lifelong dedication to advocate and fight for civil rights, equality, representation, and diversity in the labor movement,” said Johanna Puno Hester, APALA National President. “We will continue to honor her legacy through our organizing efforts to ensure equity and equality in the workforce.”
Sumi Haru was a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and served on the APALA Executive Board for many years. #