CAPAC and Democratic Leadership Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and House Democratic Leadership hosted a Congressional Ceremony on Capitol Hill to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.  The ceremony was moderated by Richard Lui of MSNBC and featured remarks by CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-08), Senator Daniel K. Akaka (HI), Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), and over a dozen other Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Over 500 people from across the country attended the event, including elected officials and community leaders representing over two dozen states and U.S. territories.

Chairwoman Chu began the morning with a call to action for the AAPI community.  “As we celebrate APA Heritage Month, it’s not just to celebrate how far we’ve come – it’s also to remind ourselves that we still have to continue to fight and advocate for our issues,” said Rep. Chu.  “We need to fight for an America where we reignite the American dream; an America where every person can climb the ladder of opportunity and an America where no one feels unsafe, unequal, or un-American because of their faith or ethnicity.”

Following Rep. Chu’s remarks, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took the stage to express her appreciation for CAPAC and our nation’s AAPI community.  “Asian and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing population in the U.S., and their interests, and indeed the interests of all Americans, are well-represented in the Congress by CAPAC,” Leader Pelosi said.  “It’s appropriate that we come together during Asian Pacific Heritage Month to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the AAPI community and the great diversity of our nation.”

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (HI) delivered the morning’s keynote address, during which he reflected on the progress the AAPI community has made during his time in office.  “This annual event was created because some of us in Congress wanted to find a way to bring national attention to Asian and Pacific American cultures across this country,” said Senator Akaka, who has served in Congress since 1977 and will be retiring at the end of this year.  “We wanted to bring together local leaders to increase advocacy for our proud communities.  I am so pleased to see how far we have come.  Asian Pacific Americans now hold many top leadership positions across our government and armed forces and in business. The United States is a great country, strengthened by our diverse contributions.  Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month helps to remind us of that.”

Congressman Mike Honda, CAPAC’s Chair Emeritus, concluded the ceremony by speaking about the great contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our country.  “On this 20th Anniversary of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, we celebrate the many accomplishments and diverse history of our AAPI community,” said Rep. Honda.  “From the public and political spheres to the entertainment industry, Asian Pacific Americans are making a lasting impact in our great country.  Now numbering more than 17 million people, our community has become the fastest-growing racial group in the United States.  As CAPAC Chair Emeritus, Immigration Taskforce Chair, and Appropriations Taskforce Chair, I am honored to continue serving and strengthening our AAPI community.  Throughout this month and beyond, we must ensure that America, as a whole, sees firsthand our valuable contributions and legacy.”

Among the other attendees and speakers honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month were Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (CT-01), CAPAC Vice Chair Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Education Taskforce Chair Mazie Hirono (HI-02), CAPAC Civil Rights Taskforce Chair Bobby Scott (VA-03), CAPAC Health Taskforce Chair Barbara Lee (CA-09), CAPAC Housing Taskforce Chair Al Green (TX-09), Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS), Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (CNMI), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-12), Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-07), Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37), Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-27), and CAPAC founding members former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and former Congressman Robert Underwood.

 

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.