WE ARE ONE was the rallying cry during the brief but successful strike in summer 1982 when 20,000 members of Local 23-25 of the ILGWU – most of them Chinese immigrant women – walked off the job in protest.
Visit our new online exhibit here.
Watch a five minute video introduction to the story here.
We invite you to visit the exhibit about the strike at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (on view until May 2023), and to view recordings from 40th Anniversary events.
40th Anniversary Events
September 2022 – May 2023: “We Are One” photo exhibit in the gallery at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, 420 Hamilton Hall. Curated by Rachel Bernstein and May Ying Chen, designed by Megan Waldau Chang. Open to the public November 7, 2022 – May 4, 2023, Monday – Thursday 11am – 3pm. To schedule a group visit contact email@example.com. Flyer available here.
May 2: Chinatown Heroes – Virtual book Launch and 1982 Strike Retrospective. Writer and scholar Winifred Chin in discussion with veterans of the strike, including Katie Quan, Muzaffar Chisti and Edgar Romney; and retired ILGWU leader and translator of the book May Chen in discussion with with Silvia Chan and Mei Lum. Event recording available here.
May 12: Virtual Clara Lemlich Awards for Social Activism featuring strike veteran Edgar Romney, and saluting previous honorees who helped organize the strike. Event recording available here.
May 21 – inaugural tour: Garment Workers Uprising in Chinatown Walking Tour with ILGWU historian Dan Katz and strike veteran May Chen. Find future tours here.
June 7: “We Are One: The 40th Anniversary of the 1982 Chinatown Garment Workers Strike,” a workshop at the Tenement Museum. Event recording available here.
June 18: Garment Workers Uprising in Chinatown Walking Tour with ILGWU historian Dan Katz and strike veteran May Chen.
June 24: Projection Night with Chinatown Art Brigade. A night of projections celebrating Chinatown’s labor history through slogans, animation, and moving image. Photos available soon.
June 25: WE ARE ONE – 40th Anniversary Celebration of the 1982 Chinatown Garment Workers Rallies (ILGWU, Local 23-25)
This commemoration event in Columbus Park, 67 Mulberry Street, New York Chinatown (the location of the 1982 rallies) included music, dance, children’s activities and veterans speaking about the strike. Organized by Local 23-25 Workers United, the WOW Project, LaborArts, City Lore, the NYC Central Labor Council, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, with support from the 21st Century ILGWU Heritage Fund, the New York Labor History Association, the NYS AFL-CIO, and the Chinatown Partnership LDC. Photos available here. Video will be available soon.
July 14: Garment Workers’ reunion and WE ARE ONE film showing – program in Chinese (Cantonese) at Project Open Door Senior Center, 168 Grand Street, New York. Photos available soon.
August 20: Garment Workers Uprising in Chinatown Walking Tour with ILGWU historian Dan Katz. Details here.
August 31: MOCA Talks: Reflections on the 1982 Chinatown Garment Workers Strike, with Mae M. Ngai, June Jee, May Ying Chen, and Rachel Bernstein in a virtual panel discussion at Museum of Chinese in America. Recording available here.
September 22: Opening reception for “We Are One” photo exhibit in the gallery at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, 420 Hamilton Hall. Featuring a poem about garment workers by poet huiying b. chan. Flyer available here.
October 19: “Celebration Our Roots” with artist/singer Taiyo Na, singer Treya Lam, and a panel of scholars and veterans of the strike including Mae M. Ngai, Vivian Louie, Donald Kwan and Amy Chin discussing the “We Are One” exhibit on display at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. Buell Hall, Columbia University. View the event program and flyer. Recording available here.