Imagine getting through this pandemic without Zoom. Or not having any days off work, toiling seven days a week with no overtime pay.
Asian Americans have improved the lives of fellow Americans in countless ways. But some of the biggest contributions don’t end up in history books.
Here’s how five Asian Americans of different ethnicities helped shape America:
Larry Itliong bolstered farm workers’ rights and working conditions
After losing three fingers working at an Alaska cannery, Larry Itliong spent decades fighting for better pay and treatment for agricultural workers.
His work as a pioneering union leader helped generations of farm workers to come. Yet many Americans don’t know his name.
“Itliong became the great Filipino American historical omission,” reads a blog post for the Asian American Legal Defense Education Fund.
“While (Cesar) Chavez is remembered as the farmworker icon, his name emblazoned on schools, parks, and roads, Itliong has been generally forgotten, treated by society as it seems Filipinos have always been treated. As nothing. But labor movement writers know that without Itliong, there would be no Chavez.”
In the 1960s, many California farmworkers toiled in abysmal conditions. The late Dawn Mabalon, professor of history at San Francisco State University, described field crews sharing just one tin cup of water.
“You still had no bathrooms in the fields, poor wages, no workers’ comp, no unemployment, no…