Asian Pacific American Labor Studies
Asian American Studies 197B; class ticket number: 121-856-200
Mondays, 4:00 – 6:50 p.m.
Bunche 2168


Asian American Studies 197B
Spring Quarter 2002

Final Community Internship Reports
Market Workers Justice Campaign by Lyeng Ia

Working with KIWA on the Market Workers Justice Campaign has really opened my eyes to the many injustices in this world. Right here in our own backyard, there are people being abused and discriminated against simply because of legal status. It makes me really sad to know that a piece of paper now defines whether or not a human being is a whole person determining who is entitled to what. By letting the students on our campus know what the real issues are, I thin that we were able to really get this campaign out there. As the campus-based group, we set up some goals that we wanted to reach by the end of the quarter, and even though we weren't able to really accomplish them all to the extent that we wanted to, I’m still very proud of the work we did.

First, we set our goals to collect 1,000 signatures from UCLA students. So between the four of us, we needed 250 signatures each. I never realized how hard it would be to get people to stop and sign their name. I think I should have expected this because when I'm on my way to class, I do the same thing. I rarely ever stop to sign anything. After being out there on Bruinwalk, I realized how many important things I could have supported if I just took the time out to listen. It made me really mad at people because I knew that the petitions I had were for a really good cause, but I just couldn’t get people to stick around long enough to hear it. It really hurt my feelings, also, when I would stop people and ask them to sign the petition and they would either brush me off or flat out say no. Thinking back now, that’s probably how I must have made other people feel even though I didn’t mean to. I now have to much more respect for the people who are out there everyday doing this. It shows that they are extremely passionate about what their supporting. Since Bruinwalk didn’t seem to be working too well, JP, Sean, Jenny and I decided to hit up the large classrooms in Asian American and Chicano Studies. Doing this was very nerve-wrecking to me because I don't like public speaking and these were lecture halls with over 200 people. I remember the first one I did, my voice was shaking so much. I must have sounded really scared, which I was. After doing a few more, I was able to get into the groove, but I know I still need a lot more work. We really though this would be a good way to get signatures, but it was still hard and a lot of people didn't want to sign anything because it had a political agenda.

Secondly, we went around campus to get student endorsements. I had the Environmental Coalition, Samahang, and APC. I was only able to get the Environment Coalition because it was hard for me to make time to get to the other meetings. The EC was extremely interested in the campaign, and many people wanted to be kept informed so that they could pick it up as one of their major campaigns for next year. I directed everyone to the website for updates. I also encouraged people to come to the march, and on the last protest, I actually saw 3 people from that meeting, which made me very excited. Speaking to them was pretty scary especially because everyone there knew each other but at least they were really nice.
JP created the website for the campaign and we all contributed to putting things on the site like suggesting links and ideas on what should be in it. We took pictures of the different events and tried to get knowledge of the website out there to the students by plugging it at every meeting and class we went to.

We also tried to raise money for Mr. Lee by having a few bake sales. The first one made $35, the second one in class made $50, and the last one on Bruinwalk made $7. I think in the end, through donations we were able to get 150 for Mr. Lee. I think it was that much. From this, I learned that it's really hard to sell things on Bruinwalk. Students don’t really like parting with their money, which is understandable. Also, we had a lot of competition during our last bake sale because UNICAMP was having theirs and they had a lot of selection and manpower. Jenny and I were no competition to their yelling so we took our basket and went up to Ackerman table to table asking for donations and giving away the cookies.

We all helped each other do a lot of these things and found that we really get along. I had a great time working with JP, Jenny and Sean. After this class is over, I don't plan to completely drop this campaign. I won’t be able to be as active on it as we have been, but I hope my support at the marches and my knowledge of the campaign will help it out. I try to tell a lot of people I meet what this campaign is about, and maybe they'll tell other people. Hopefully, the Market Workers will get what they've been fighting for, and set a precedent to all the other workers in Koreatown, and Los Angeles.







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