1199ers Rise Up and Celebrate Asian Heritage MonthAugust 22, 2019
The 1199SEIU Asian Pacific Islander (API) Caucus marked the end of Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a broad-ranging celebration held on May 29 at the Union’s Manhattan headquarters.
The event highlighted API union members’ organizing efforts and preparations for the 2020 Presidential election. The evening’s agenda included a look back at the development and accomplishments of the API Caucus and a panel discussion about the importance of the 2020 Census and broad participation among API members.
The event’s keynote speaker was Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-6), the first Asian American member of Congress from New York City and the only Asian American congressmember from the northeast. Meng highlighted the necessity of API unity and strongly encouraged API members to continue organizing and elevating Asian American and Pacific Islander voices.
“If we leverage the total sum of our power and unity, we have a lot more power than we think,” said Meng. “We have a lot more in common than we have differences.”
GiGi Youssef, an RN delegate at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens, said events like the API celebration are vital in building solidarity.
“It’s important to mingle with our Asian co-workers,” said Youssef, who is originally from the Philippines. “We all have our own voices, but we can all be involved in one community. It also gives us an opportunity to come together to celebrate just how hardworking and compassionate Asian caregivers are.”