AAPI Month: Calling for Empathy and Respect, End to Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

May 27, 2021 — This month, Stan Kiino, United AFA Council 11 SFO and board member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), wrote a powerful letter to fellow Flight Attendants and union members for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 


Dear Fellow Flight Attendants,

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, sends you our heartfelt greetings during this Asian American Heritage Month. 

Founded in 1992, APALA is a Labor Constituency Group consisting of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, most of whom are union members and allies advancing worker, immigrant, and civil rights.

APALA recognizes that members of all of America’s racial groups, indigenous peoples, and ethnicities have contributed to her greatness. 

As one of these groups, the AAPI Community is facing a rising rate of anti-Asian violence and hate. The incidents range from racist name-calling to violence resulting in serious injury and in some cases fatality. Many incidents are unreported. It is widely understood that racial and ethnic hatred often stems from ignorance, scapegoating and misperceptions that often pits us against one another.

Clearly there is no room in either our unions or our workplaces for this hatred. Neither our unions nor our employers should tolerate hate and discrimination.

We strive for acceptance and tolerance in the workplace, yet this endeavor is not always present outside of our workplace communities. People of color, women, elderly, immigrant, and LGBTQ folks continue to be subject to both verbal and physical assault. 

We speak with pride as Flight Attendants, as workers who have chosen a career because of our interest in travel and to experience different countries and cultures. Not only does this add to the value of the work we provide for our employers but enhances our personal lives.

This value also exists in the diversity of our work colleagues, whether they fly or not for a living. It starts with an interest in each other and our backgrounds. When there is a willingness to speak about one’s background, the conversation often results in understanding, empathy, and respect. 

It then could follow that we bring to our homes, communities, and organizations a strong sense of equality, acceptance, and tolerance. These values can help change hearts and minds.

To All of you who are helping to change hearts and minds, we at APALA thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are reminding others that “An injury to One is an injury to All”.

In Gratitude, 

Stan Kiino
AFA-CWA United Council 11 SFO Member
APALA Board and Local San Francisco Chapter Member

APALA has created a useful toolkit for union activists on how we can build a "movement that is truly inclusive of all workers and that fights to end anti-Asian racism with the same fervor as we fight for workers' rights." You can access the toolkit here

Generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders aviation heroes have enriched our aviation history. Learn more about Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, the first Chinese-American woman to earn a pilot license in 1932, and others.

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