APA Spotlight is a bi-monthly interview of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) community leaders. It is a spotlight on individuals who have dedicated their careers to issues surrounding the APIA community with the goal of bringing much deserved recognition to their work and cause(s).
Kent Wong is Director of the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA, where he also teaches Labor Studies and Asian American Studies.
Kent previously was staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union, representing Los Angeles County workers. He was also the first staff attorney for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California.
Kent served as the Founding President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, the first national organization of Asian union members and workers. He has also served as the President of the United Association for Labor Education, and the University and College Labor Education Association, national organizations of union and university labor educators. He is currently a vice president of the California Federation of Teachers.
Kent has published numerous books on labor unions, organizing, immigrant workers, and popular education. His most recent publications include: Underground Undergrads, UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out, Miguel Contreras: Legacy of a Labor Leader, and Organizing on Separate Shores: Vietnamese and Vietnamese American Union Organizers.
The mission of The UCLA Labor Center is to promote research, education, and policy change to improve the lives of workers, students, and their communities.
What is the mission statement of your life?
I don’t have one. It is hard enough developing a mission statement for my work place, the UCLA Labor Center.
But I do enjoy life to its fullest, I feel fortunate to have a wonderful family and great friends, and I feel privileged to have a job that allows me to work for social justice.