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Public Employee Press

Union celebrates Asian heritage


Suki Terada Ports, Asian-American activist
Gui Fen Chen sings a romantic Chinese standard during the event.
The union celebrated Asian Heritage Month with two events that honored the contributions of our members from the continent.

Speakers at both events delivered a message against bigotry and the anti-immigrant sentiment propagated by the Trump administration in Washington, D.C.

On May 5, DC 37’s Asian Heritage Committee kicked off the events with “Our Struggle, Our Fight,” at union headquarters.

“This theme of ‘Our Struggle, Our Fight’ is the reflection of our accepting the challenges Asian-Americans face, and finding solutions,” said Local 1407 President and DC 37 Treasurer Maf Misbah Uddin, chair of the Asian Heritage Committee.

Uddin called out President Donald J. Trump for his attacks on immigrants. He criticized Trump’s draconian actions against hardworking newcomers and creation of an atmosphere of fear in immigrant communities.

“President Trump has a vicious hatred against immigrants, women, minorities and Muslims that must be stopped,” Uddin said.

Striking an important aspect of a struggle facing all public workers, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido called on those attending to campaign against the state constitutional convention. In a ballot question this November, voters will be asked whether the state should hold a state constitutional convention.

Kong Dejroongrueng performs a traditional Thai Manora dance at the Asian Heritage celebration at DC 37 headquarters on May 5.
Yuh-Line Niou, New York Assembly
“The state Constitution essentially says that your pension shall not be diminished, but the number one thing that a convention could change is to do away with our pensions as we know them,” Garrido said.

New York state Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou also spoke, and was honored for her service to her district, which includes DC 37 headquarters.

The audience enjoyed performances highlighting the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Asia, including Chinese traditional dance and opera, as well as Indian, Thai and Bangladeshi dances.

On May 19, Local 2627 held its 11th annual Asian Heritage celebration at the union.

Introducing the event, Local 2627 President Robert Ajaye said, “Asian-Americans have contributed to our development as a nation, and some have sacrificed their lives building and defending the country. We must appreciate their contributions past, present and future.”

The local honored state Supreme Court Judge Dorothy Chin-Brandt and community activist Suki Terada Ports. Chin-Brandt was the first Asian-American to be elected to a judgeship in New York, winning her first term to the bench in New York City Civil Court in 1987.

Terada Ports was active in the Japanese-American community for many years. She co-founded the Asian and Pacific Island Coalition on HIV/AIDS and helped establish the Family Health Project in 1989.

Photographer Louis Chan was also honored at the event, and the crowd was entertained by harmonica virtuoso Jia-Yi He, along with dance performances by the Chinese Qipao Association and solo dance performance by the Bengali American dancer Zarrin Maisha.

At the Local 2627 celebration, Zarrin Maisha performs a Bengali dance for the audience.

A performer goes Bollywood at the May 5 event.