Jun 21, 2022
Re:Work presents "Hunger Strike!" (from Self Evident and AZI Media)
We’ve partnered with Self Evident, and are excited to share an episode from their show! Self Evident is a podcast focused on the full range of Asian American perspectives, which are too often erased from the national discourse.
This episode is a collaboration between Self Evident and AZI Media, and is part of a project called “Advancing Democracy” by the Solutions Journalism Network.
When Augustine Tang’s father passed away, Augustine decided to inherit his taxi medallion – the license that had allowed his father to drive a yellow taxi cab in New York City for decades. But the medallion came with a $530,000 debt trap and years of struggling to escape it.
Augustine’s friend Kenny, a fellow taxi cab driver, committed suicide. So did several other drivers who were crushed under the weight of these impossible debts. In hopes of preventing another death, Tang joined a push by the local taxi drivers’ union, to campaign for debt relief. And eventually, city resistance to worker demands culminated in a 15-day hunger strike to convince City Hall that immigrant taxi drivers deserved a fair deal.
The drivers’ struggles for livable working conditions showed how political power doesn’t just come down to votes. It’s a reminder how strong collective will can be, especially for those often silenced and ignored by our imperfect democracy.
Please take a short survey after listening at tinyurl.com/azitaxi — to help Self Evident fund more stories like this one!