【5/16/2021】CAPA-NoVA Distinguished Chinese American Project 

(Author: Jing Bai)

陈美瑛(May Ying Chen) (1948-) is a labor activist who has advocated for immigrant workers for more than two decades. She led the New York Chinatown garment workers’ strike of 1982, which was one of the largest Asian American worker strikes with 20,000 marchers.  As a result, the workers won the employment benefits and protection they were not provided before.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, May received her BA from Radcliffe College and her MA in Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.  After the 1982 strike, she joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). There she worked on the Immigration Project, the first union-created legal advocacy department for immigrant workers and helped thousands immigrants get their citizenships.  She later worked in ILGWU’s education department and served the New York City Central Labor Council, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, as well as the international vice president of UNITE HERE.

相关阅读:  何俊宇(James Chiun-Yue Ho)

As May said, “What matters most to me then and now is to make a better world for family, friends, immigrants, and workers”, her story has inspired the Asian American Communities to continuously fight for rights and opportunities along the journey of building the American Dream.  She also encourages young people to “open their minds and hearts to other people, find good friends, mentors, and partners in life, and enjoy a bright future.”

For additional readings


We Built New York: May Ying Chen

【Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us!】

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