APALA’s 12th Biennial Convention held in Las Vegas, NV on August 14th-18th, 2013 hosted hundreds of workers, youth leaders, and activists advocating for social justice and workers’ rights. The convention served as a great opportunity for all to engage in lively and uplifting debate that promised to inspire new strategies and forge new alliances. This year’s theme of Our Strength, Our Voice: Leading the Way weaved through various workshops addressing current and pressing issues as well as plenaries about the fight for immigration reform, community & labor partnerships, and youth organizing & leadership development. Experienced and youth leaders alike were able to come together, share their inspirational stories of struggle and success, and collaborate on innovative and creative ways to continue the fight for economic justice and insuring their voices are heard.
Keynote speakers included prominent political figures from all over the country working in support of the labor movement including:
- Senator Mazie Hirono – United States Senator from Hawaii
- Congressman Mike Honda – U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 17th district
- Assemblymember Rob Bonta – California State Assembly from the 18th district
- President D. Taylor – UNITEHERE!
- President Dennis Van Roekel – National Education Association (NEA)
- President Larry Cohen – Communication Workers of America (CWA)
- President Randi Weingarten – American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
- Secretary Treasurer Danny L. Thompson – Nevada State AFL-CIO
- Secretary Treasurer Eliseo Medina – Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
- Secretary Treasurer Laura Reyes – American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
The 2013 APALA Convention also had the pleasure of presenting Kim Geron, President of the APALA Alameda Chapter and Vice President of the California Faculty Association (CFA) with the Philip Vera Cruz Award, which is given to an outstanding Asian and Pacific Islander American union organizer whose career honors the memory of the award’s namesake. Laura Reyes, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME, was presented with the Art Takei Leadership award for exemplifying strong leadership within her union. The Vincent Foo Award was presented to the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 for outstanding work with the Asian and Pacific Islander American community. Finally, the John Delloro Award was presented to the youth advocacy organization Generational Alliance for commitment to worker, immigrant, and civil rights.
The convention was a huge success as leaders from throughout the country took Las Vegas by storm with nearly 500 attendees including rank and file members, domestic workers, retirees, students, young leaders, and public officials. From the speakers to the breakout caucuses, there were on-going critical discussion about the labor movement and the dynamic partnerships that will take us further into the fight for social justice.
The impact and scope of APALA’s 2013 Convention:
- 3 plenaries on immigration, community & labor partnerships, and youth organizing & leadership development
- 18 resolutions passed including global labor solidarity and transgender inclusiveness
- 6 union leaders addressed convention, the most in APALA’s history
- 2 actions for immigration reform and picketing in solidarity with Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino Workers
- 2 inaugural summits preceding convention – Young Leaders Summit and Seasoned Workers Summit
- 7 Asian Pacific American performing artists
- 85 youth and young workers in attendance
- 49 scholarships to young leaders
- 4 inaugural regional caucus
- 6 union caucuses, the most in convention history
- The first Asian American woman in Senate addressed the convention. Second Asian American Senator to address convention, following the late and honorable Daniel Inouye
- Over 20 unions represented at convention
- Nearly 20 Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander DREAMers present at convention
- Over 15 ethnicity and languages represented
Thank you to our convention committees, executive board members, volunteers, attendees, speakers, workshop facilitators, sponsors, donors and community partners for making convention one of the most diverse and biggest in APALA’s history.