Dec 28, 2020 • 1HR 25M

Working-class unity with organizer JoAnn Lum; plus, listener Qs on the diversity labyrinth

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Time To Say Goodbye
A podcast about Asia, Asian America, and life during the Coronavirus pandemic, featuring Jay Caspian Kang and Tammy Kim.
Episode details

HNY from the heart of Times Square!

0:00 – This week, we welcome JoAnn Lum, the director of NMASS (the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops), a “multi-trade, multi-ethnic workers center” located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Though COVID-19 has recently shone a light on horrifying working conditions in healthcare, nursing homes, restaurants, and delivery, JoAnn describes how “essential workers” have faced steadily worsening prospects for decades, and relays her members’ disappointment in the government response.

She also talks about how immigration law has been used to divide workers, and explains NMASS’s “Ain’t I a Woman” campaign, which is challenging the 24-hour workday for home care attendants. (Tammy wrote about this around-the-clock work for Businessweek two years ago [a sobering read!].)

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has only exacerbated the urgency of NMASS’s organizing. Learn more and contribute here!

34:30 – In the second half, we discuss a bundle of listener questions about “diversity:” employment initiatives, diversity statements, even children’s books! How do we navigate between “good” and “bad” versions of diversity? What are the right categories to describe them? 

Thanks to Adriana, Amy, and Helen for the excellent questions!

Keep your queries and comments coming! We’d love more recorded audio bits, too, which you can send by email: On Twitter, we’re doomscrolling at @TTSGpod.

Finally, pass the podcast onto your friends!