This past weekend, Washington, DC witnessed the full force arrival of APALA leaders from across the country to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its founding. The National Executive Board, members, allies and friends gathered in the Gompers room of the AFL-CIO to honor some of the organization’s founding members and supporters while reminiscing about the struggles the organization endured since its inception in 1992.
“This celebration was truly a way to build momentum for the organizing and civic engagement work that APALA will focus on this year”, said Gregory Cendana, APALA Executive Director. “As we reflect back at how our organization was founded, we look forward to continuing to strengthen our presence in the community and be a unique voice that speaks for Asian Pacific American workers and their families.”
Nearly 200 guests and supporters took to the floor as AFL-CIO Executive Vice President, Arlene Holt-Baker kicked off the reception. The honorees of the event were: Rep. Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; Matthew Finucane, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Education Association and founding Executive Director and Board member; and Gerald McEntee, President of the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees Union and founding member of the AFL-CIO Executive Committee on the formulation of APALA.
This weekend was a true testament to the spirit and importance of inter-generational dialogue. APALA convened for its first time ever, a meeting with their newly formed Young Leaders Council, a group of dynamic young workers, students and community affiliates dedicated to the advancement of economic justice and workers’ rights in APA communities.
“The formation of a Young Leaders Council was voted on at our convention last year and it’s been exciting to see it come to life”, said Heather Laverty, APALA-DC Communications Vice President. “As a young worker myself, I look forward to working closely with this Council to uplift the voices of the next generation of leaders across the country.”