On Monday, February 16th, I had a privilege to share some of my personal stories at a Senate Committee Hearing in the state capitol to support a statewide paid sick time law. It was just amazing how many people from all walks of life came together, formed an alliance, and fought for this common sense standard: Every Oregonian worker should have the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave a year.
Why do I support paid sick leave?
I am a hardworking international student from Vietnam. I came to the U.S. with so very little knowledge of the English language, and therefore I fully understand that how language barriers play such crucial roles in determining indicators of health care access and full participation in society. I have sympathy and respect for those people who don’t speak English as their first language, yet they work hard to survive, thrive, and stay healthy in this country. As an international student, I often hear people ask me this, “Why do you care so much about social justice here?” I thought to myself, “Why not me!” In fact, I have been actively involved with many diverse groups focused on social justice and equity. The more I listen to people’s stories, the more I understand that people don’t struggle by choice. I have learned that policies can make a difference in helping people in need get back on their feet. Paid sick leave is one of the issues. A recent study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that “47% of private sector workers in Oregon have no access to paid sick time where they work. There’s an even larger gap in access among Hispanic workers in Oregon, with a shocking 62% having no paid sick time.” The research also demonstrates that low wage workers are least likely to have access to paid sick days. “In Oregon, 82% of those earning more than $65,000 annually have access to paid sick time compared to 29% of Oregonians earning less than $20,000 annually. Those least able to afford a day without pay are also least likely to have access to paid sick time.” I strongly believe that workers should not have to choose between going to work sick and paying for groceries. Parents should not have to make a hard choice between a paid check and a sick child at home.
APANO provides a strong sense of community and sustaining leadership development in our communities.
As a woman who cares deeply about justice and desires to develop herself as a leader, I am grateful to have worked with so many compassionate, strongwilled, and purposedriven people at APANO. Speaking from my own experience, this has been rewarding and fantastic for me to be part of this great community. I learn, grow, and develop myself as a leader. Though it is still a long way to go, I am very excited to work and learn together to make our Asian and Pacific Islander communities stronger and wiser.
*If you would like to get involved on the Paid Sick Leave campaign and other issues APANO is advocating for, please consider joining our Legislative Action Teams in Portland, Beaverton, Salem, and Eugene. For more information, please email [email protected]
Introducing APANO’s Legislative Trainings for 2015
Would you like to get more involved in our Policy Advocacy? Interested in how API’s can build political power? The Trainings will focus on each of APANO’s policy issues around health, education, economic justice, and most importantly how community members can use their voice during this legislative session.
2015 Legislative Training Dates
Portland: March 12th (6-8p.m.) 2788 SE 82nd Ave., 97266
Salem: March 18th, (6-8 p.m.) AFSCME Salem Union Hall 1400 Tandem Ave NE, Salem OR
Beaverton: March 26th (6-p.m.) 12625 SW Broadway, 97005
Please contact Community Organizer, Kathy Wai, [email protected] for more information or to RSVP.