1199SEIU’s Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus held its annual celebration on May 23 in the Union’s Cherkasky/ Davis Penthouse. The event drew scores of 1199ers, guests and community allies who joined Caucus members for the yearly celebration of Asian American Pacific Heritage. The event included traditional music and dance, cuisines from throughout Asia and a panel discussion of challenges facing some of our Asian-American members and allies on the job and in our communities.

Jian Mei, a pharmacy tech at New York Presbyterian Hospital, is the son of 1199 members and calls himself a ‘union baby.’ “You guys motivate me to become a delegate and to give a voice to the ones that don’t have a voice and for those who may be fearful of speaking up for their rights,” he said.

Shilpa Patel, a pharmacist a Rite Aid, moved to the U.S. from India with her family when she was s little girl. Patel says that her experience reflects that of many Asian Americans. “I’m very proud of my parents.

They came here in the 1980’s when it wasn’t like it is now,” she said. “They faced a lot of racism, but they struggled and they succeeded. And they raised my brothers and me, and we are all professionals.”

The evening’s keynote speaker was Luisa Blue, executive vice president of 1199’s parent union, SEIU. Blue reminded attendees how much Asian- Americans have contributed to U.S. society and how much there is to lose. “You must be ready to stand up in 2018, 2020 and beyond,” she said.

- 1199 Magazine - May/June 2017