CAPAC Members Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 2, 2022

Washington, D.C. — May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a celebration of the history, the immeasurable contributions, and achievements of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. To commemorate this month-long celebration, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27):

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities that have made America what it is today, shaped our infrastructure, built our economy, transformed our culture. The AANHPI community has continuously strengthened our nation as health care workers, entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers, military service members, artists, public servants, and more. AANHPIs are one of the most diverse groups in the country with over 23 million people who represent more than 50 distinct ethnicities and hundreds of different languages.

As Chair of CAPAC, I am honored to lead our Caucus in celebrating the histories and accomplishments of our communities, not just in May, but all year-round. From the Chinese railroad workers who built our nation’s first transcontinental railroad, to trailblazers like Dalip Singh Saund and Patsy Mink, to our health care providers and essential workers who continue to risk their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, AANHPIs are deeply woven into the fabric of our nation and have played an integral role in making America what it is today. I am committed to ensuring that CAPAC continues to advocate for the needs of all our communities, and I thank my 75 fellow CAPAC Members for all you do as champions for our AANHPI communities in your districts and across the nation.

As anti-Asian hate continues to rise, it has never been more important to speak out against xenophobia and discrimination and embrace the rich diversity of our country. We must continue to teach our histories as part of American history, and I am thrilled that we are kicking off this month with the House passage of CAPAC First Vice-Chair Rep. Grace Meng’s AAPI Museum Study bill. As we continue to celebrate the diverse heritage and incredible contributions of AANHPI communities, I wish you all a happy APAHM!”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice-Chair:

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to reflect on and celebrate the immense contributions the AAPI community has made in the advancement and history of our nation. I am proud to represent a thriving Asian American community who call Queens, New York their home. The AAPI community has left an invaluable mark on every aspect of our nation’s identity and I am thrilled that my AAPI Museum Study bill cleared the House this past week. One day, our nation will have a national museum dedicated to our stories, our trials, and our successes – I look forward to that moment. I send my best wishes to everybody celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I look forward to our community growing together.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice-Chair:

“The beginning of May marks the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This is a time for us to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of AAPIs across the country, and honor our many cultures and traditions. My family is just one of the many Japanese American families who were unjustly interned during WWII, and this month, I also reflect on our history throughout the years. The United States finds strength in our diversity, and I hope that we can come together to celebrate that.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“This month, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, recognizing the contributions of the AAPI community to our nation throughout history. From the Chinese laborers who built the Transcontinental Railroad to the Asian American women who bravely fought against fascist aggression in WWII, AAPIs have strengthened and invigorated our nation. This month, we must also remember the historical injustices that Asian Americans have faced, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII. Last year, hate crimes against AAPIs rose by 339 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. This hatred must be stopped. This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we honor the resilience of the AAPI community and continue the fight for justice and equality for all Americans.”

Congressman Ed Case (HI-01):

“Aloha! As the very proud U.S. Representative of the district with the largest percentages of Americans who trace their heritage to Asia or elsewhere in the Pacific, I am truly honored to join my colleagues in commemorating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The honor roll of Asian-Pacific Americans from Hawaiʻi include the members of one of our nation’s most storied military detachments – the U.S. Army’s 100th Battalion (Separate).  The millions who wore our nation’s uniform in World War II fought and died to save our country and world from mortal threat. But this band of brothers fought even harder to prove themselves to their own country. And they did, fighting through Italy and France with their brothers and into an honored place in the storied history of our military. Then they came home and changed our Hawai’i and country forever. We will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 100th’s formation next month. The detachment we proudly refer to in Hawaiʻi as the ‘One Puka-Puka’ truly exemplifies the character and spirit of Asian-Pacific Americans everywhere who have given and are giving so much to so many.”

Congressman Al Green (TX-09):

“The month of May is a time to recognize the history, contributions, and accomplishments of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community as they relate to the story of America. I am proud to represent a strong AAPI community in the Ninth Congressional District of Texas and join them in honoring the richness of their culture, contributions to science and technology, as well as their efforts in the labor movement to improve workers’ rights. This year, I invite everyone to join me in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and reflect on the positive impact the AAPI community has had on American society.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07):

“As we mark the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us take a moment to reflect and be grateful for the amazing contributions Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have made to our country. From the arts to the sciences, and everything in between, we have had a crucial and indelible impact on the fabric of our society. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished and all that there is yet to come. Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the immense contributions of the AAPI community to our nation’s economy, history, and culture. Particularly at a time when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are facing increased violence and discrimination, it is more important than ever for us to come together to condemn acts of hate and strive for a more inclusive society.”  

Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03):

“AAPIs have made enormous contributions to our country and our world, but our history is rarely talked about, and those contributions can go unknown or unrecognized. Now more than ever, with the rise in hate crimes like the Atlanta shootings, and other acts of violence in New York city and around the country, we keep hearing this phrase ‘you don’t belong here.’ I don’t want my kids to understand who they are from sources of hate and discrimination. I want them to feel pride. Pride in who they are, pride in AAPIs and our place in this country. AAPI stories are not just Asian American stories, they are American stories. Our history isn’t just Asian American history, it’s American history. This AAPI Heritage Month, I look forward to celebrating our history and heritage and coming together to uplift one another.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Each year, the month of May is an opportunity to celebrate the rich culture, history, and traditions that the AANHPI community have brought to communities across America, including to the wonderfully diverse and vibrant East Bay. This month is also a time to recognize the gravity of threats—whether hate speech or racially motivated violence—facing the AANHPI community, and the toll this takes on their livelihoods. It is especially important that we uplift and recognize the endless value brought to this country by AANHPI members and stand in unwavering solidarity with the AANHPI community.” 

Congressman Michael San Nicolas (Guam):

Every May, we take the time to pause, reflect on, and celebrate the rich histories, vibrant cultures, unique traditions, and invaluable contributions of our nation’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. From building our transcontinental railroads and serving on the front lines of our military ranks, to advancing innovative technologies and embodying unwavering resilience in the face of hardship and violence, the AAPI story is undeniably intertwined with the very history and identity of this nation.

Today, we take pride in the diversity of peoples and backgrounds the United States of America hosts, and it is in this same spirit that we must continue in the fight for uncompromising inclusivity. As an indigenous CHamoru and Pacific Islander myself, I recognize that I am truly blessed with the opportunity to serve as a representative of my community in the Capitol. It is a role of leadership my ancestors dreamt of and tirelessly advocated for in decades past, and it is by their commitment that I am further strengthened to build upon their legacy of perseverance with unceasing efforts to secure SSI for Americans in the Territories.

I am honored to join the Honorable Chairwoman Chu, my dedicated colleagues and staff of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and millions of others across the country in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I look forward to the continued work we will accomplish together on the road ahead in service of Asians, Pacific Islanders, and all Americans alike.

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month during May. The APA and API communities continue to make significant contributions fields across the South Sound and throughout the entire nation. This month we are celebrating our rich history and diversity while honoring APA and API leaders who have paved the way for us today. As one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress in its 230-year history, I am proud to represent and be an advocate for APA and API communities.”

Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31):

“This month we honor the rich history and traditions the Asian Pacific American community has shared with us for generations. In the face of a horrific rise in anti-Asian violence, I’m proud to join my colleagues as we recommit to combatting discrimination and hate. Together we can ensure that diversity is our strength.”

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01):

“Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Oregon’s First Congressional District is one of the most diverse in our state, thanks to the many Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders who call it home. Especially now when AAPIs have faced increasing harassment and hate, it is important to celebrate the rich heritage, traditions, and contributions of our AAPI community. I join with my CAPAC colleagues in honoring the immense strength of AAPIs and will continue to stand as a firm ally for the community and against anti-Asian hate.”

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05):

“Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! This month, we celebrate the rich history and culture of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. As we recognize the leadership and traditions of AAPIs across the country, we must also acknowledge the heightened discrimination they have faced since the beginning of the pandemic. As AAPIs remain resilient in the face of bigotry, it is imperative to continue uplifting the community to build a brighter future for generations to come and recommit to combatting hate in all its forms.”

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18):

“Every year in the month of May, we recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by honoring the achievements of our AAPI communities, past and present. California’s 18th Congressional District would not be what is it today without our large and vibrant AAPI communities whose participation in every sector strengthens our region in countless ways. As we celebrate these communities, it’s important not to forget the challenges they face and the ongoing xenophobia and hate they’ve been subjected to. America must always be a welcoming and safe country, and I will continue to stand proudly with my AAPI constituents.”

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32):

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to recognize the people whose countless contributions--past and present-- have helped build America, like the 20,000 Chinese immigrants who laid tracks for the Transcontinental Railroad. Just as those workers helped link our states together, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to be a positive influence on our schools, businesses, economy, and communities. I am very proud to represent a strong, growing AAPI community in our San Gabriel Valley, and I continue to stand in solidarity with them against anti-Asian hatred and violence. I encourage all to join in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“This May we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to acknowledge the diverse histories and cultures of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States and the contributions they have made to the fabric of our nation. The month of May was chosen for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to commemorate the arrival of the first known Japanese immigrant to America in May of 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May of 1869, which was made possible by thousands of Chinese workers – serving as a reminder that the United States is stronger because of our diversity. I’m proud to represent one of the most diverse districts in Washington State, which is home to a large AAPI community who have enriched our district in countless ways.”

Congressman David Trone (MD-06):

“During the month of May, we recognize the incredible contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to our nation’s achievements. Despite increased hate crimes and prejudice, the AAPI community has shown profound strength and grace during the last two years. Asian Cultural Centers in Maryland fed those in need, provided PPE, and even served as mass testing and vaccination sites. Our history has shown that diverse perspectives and cultures are vital to our country’s success. We must never forget that.”