Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes examines the lives of two slain cannery union reformers during the tumultuous Civil Rights Era of the 1970s. Author Ron Chew was a close friend of Gene and Silme, and his poignant prologue sets the stage for the story of their political awakening, the events that led to their tragic deaths, and the movement they nurtured. Through memories of family and friends, we learn about the men as second-generation Filipino Americans, as leaders, and as part of a generation striving to make America live up to its democratic ideals.
The book includes a history of Asian labor in the Alaska salmon-canneries written by Gene Viernes. He intended to publish this work to illuminate the contributions of cannery workers and the noble fight to create a union.
Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes provides rich insight into the roots of Asian American labor organizing and offers inspiration and wisdom for a new wave of activists.
Ron Chew is a writer and community organizer who has fought for social justice and more inclusive historical understanding. He is former editor of the International Examiner and former executive director of the Wing Luke Museum. He now works as director of the International Community Health Services Foundation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.