Statement from SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger and President Mike Powers on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:
Each May, our union is proud to join the nation in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Last year, we spotlighted the rise in violence and harassment our API members face and supported the #StopAsianHate campaign. Tragically, these hate crimes have not only increased in the past year, but spiked by 339% over record highs from 2020. We remain in solidarity with everyone who continues to be impacted by this tragic targeting.
Our Asian Pacific Islander Caucus would like to lift up disability within their communities as part of this year’s observance. Disability remains taboo in many cultures and, as a union with thousands of members who care for people with disabilities, we find it important to help raise awareness. This focus is made in recognition of one of our long-term member leaders, Theo Ko Thompson, who recently lost her father, Nelson. Mr. Koh dedicated his life to educating and supporting people with disabilities in Singapore despite the stigmatization within the culture. We can all learn from Mr. Koh’s legacy to help make our world inclusive and welcoming to all.
As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022, let’s continue Mr. Koh’s work in shaping a better world. Our union will share information on events taking place over the course of the month. Please participate if you can.