Haru was an early AAPI leader and became involved with the film and television labor movement to address issues concerning the lack of opportunities and roles for AAPIs. She joined SAG in 1968. She served almost 40 years on SAG’s board of directors — serving many of those years as SAG’s recording secretary – the guild’s third highest elected office. Haru was also named interim SAG president in 1995. She also served for many years on AFTRA’s board, and was a member of the SAG-AFTRA national board at the time of her death.
Haru formed the Asian Americans For Fair Media along with CAPE Co-Founder and Board Chair Emeritus Wenda Fong, Frank Kwan, Ellen Endo, her husband Jesse, and Bill Wong.
Haru made history after she became the first AAPI to serve as a national vice president of the AFL-CIO in 1995, a position she held for six years.
Co-founder and national chair of SAG’s Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee and Western national chair of AFTRA’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee, Haru originated the EEOC Career Day and helped develop SAG’s affirmative action conferences.
She also negotiated SAG’s contractual “American Scene” clause that called for a more realistic representation of minorities. She chaired SAG’s Legislative Committee and served as a legislative advocate on the national, state and local levels. She was a trustee and former president of the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund, and a former board member of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. In 2009, Haru was honored with SAG’s Ralph Morgan Award, which was bestowed upon recipients for distinguished service to SAG’s Hollywood Division.
Haru helped pave the way for Asian American actors to get more representation on film and television. She will be missed.