I had the opportunity to connect with Ai-jen Poo, activist and keynote speaker at the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) East Coast Conference in New York City. Ai-jen serves as the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-Director of the Caring Across Generations campaign. She was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012 and was featured on Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women list.
Learn more about her story of how her Taiwanese roots influence her inspirational work:
To be honest, I felt a bit starstruck interviewing Ai-jen Poo. For me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with someone I truly admire.
I first heard about Ai-jen Poo through Time’s 100 Most Influential People feature. I had previously been inspired by female Asian figures, but Ai-jen’s story resonated deeper with me. I felt connected to her because she was a woman inspired by her Taiwanese American heritage and she attributed her successes to kind-hearted role models. But it was the fact that she cared for one of the most vulnerable populations that intrigued me most. Working with domestic workers was a foreign idea to me, but after hearing her story, the idea wasn’t so foreign anymore.
Her work opened my eyes up to seeing how Taiwanese Americans have a role in helping the community beyond themselves and taught me just how influential one person and one’s stories can be. A nanny’s story motivated Ai-jen to become a labor organizer; now her efforts have won rights for thousands of workers nationwide, and the tale of it all plays a role in shaping my goals and dreams of today. I was grateful to have the privilege of interviewing her, and am now even luckier to share her story with the Taiwanese American community.
Visit the National Domestic Workers Alliance website: http://www.domesticworkers.org
Special thanks to TaiwaneseAmerican.org staff members Kristina Lin for filming the interview and HoChie Tsai for editing the footage.