WASHINGTON – Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements Jan. 13 in celebration of Korean American Day, which commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the U.S. on Jan. 13, 1903, and honors the diverse contributions of Korean Americans.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “119 years ago, the first Korean immigrants to the U.S. arrived and have helped to shape our country and culture ever since. Today, as we celebrate Korean American Day, I’m thrilled to have an historic four Korean American members of Congress with even more incredible Korean American leaders breaking barriers as judges and members of the administration.

“As our country recovers from the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Asian American communities, and the plague of anti-Asian hate crimes, it is more important than ever that we stand with the Korean American community to ensure  everyone is included in our economic recovery and safe from bigotry and violence. Our diversity is our strength and I’m thrilled to celebrate the contributions of Korean Americans today and every day.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), CAPAC first vice chair: “119 years ago, the first Korean immigrants arrived in the United States, and today we recognize Korean American Day and the incredible contributions that Korean Americans have made to our country. Korean Americans have shattered barriers in both the private and public sectors. From culture to food, music to movies, and medicine to politics, Korean Americans have enriched and continue to enrich every aspect of our nation’s identity.

“I am deeply honored and proud to represent Queens, New York which is home to the second-largest Korean American community in the U.S. On this Korean American Day and every day, we recognize the history, culture, and accomplishments of Korean Americans, and I extend my gratitude and best wishes to the vibrant Korean American community in my congressional district, and everybody across the nation celebrating this annual observance.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), CAPAC whip: “Today, on Korean American Day, we honor and celebrate the Korean American community. Korean American business owners, doctors, military service members, artists and more have made indelible contributions to American society. From the inventor of the first beating heart operation for coronary artery heart disease to a four-time Olympic gold medalist, Korean Americans represent the best of America.

“I’m pleased to join my CAPAC colleagues in wishing the Korean American community a happy and healthy Korean American Day!”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento): “On Korean American Day, we recognize the incredible contributions made by Korean Americans to the fabric of our country. As a nation of immigrants, we first welcomed Koreans to the United States in 1903. In the 119 years since, our economy, culture, and society have rapidly evolved with Korean Americans firmly rooted in that growth.

“As the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, and as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea, I am proud to join my CAPAC colleagues in celebrating Korean American Day and the many contributions of Korean Americans.”

Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii): “The very first immigrants of Korean ancestry to arrive in our country came ashore in my district of Honolulu, Hawaii onboard the RMS Gaelic in 1903 and in the last century-plus have grown into a proud and successful Korean American community in our islands and beyond. 

“This quintessentially American community has embraced our collective dream while retaining the best of its rich culture and history, in the prefers strengthening our collective bonds. I am so proud to include them among the rich diversity I represent in Congress.”

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.): “Today we celebrate Korean American Day, a day when we can reflect on the first Koreans coming to America over 100 years ago, and to reflect upon all that’s happened in the last century in terms of the contributions and the opportunities that have been afforded to Korean Americans like my parents and my family. Today is also about the future of Korean Americans, and the incredible rise of Korean Americans throughout industries like business, policy, academia, entertainment, and so much more.

“There is a tremendous amount of excitement about what comes next. Our story is not just a Korean American story or just an Asian American story, but a fundamentally American story. I hope today we take time to recognize and appreciate the great diversity of our country.”

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.): “From the moment Koreans first arrived in the United States in 1903, they have made a lasting impact on our country. A Korean immigrant, my mother’s unrelenting perseverance, strength, hard work, and accomplishments are reflective of the rich values that the Korean American community represents.

“As one of the first Korean American women to be elected to Congress and the first African American to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level, I could not be more proud of my heritage. On Korean American Day and every day, I am proud to carry our culture and values with me in Congress.”

Bipartisan Resolution

Rep. Young Kim (R-Diamond Bar), one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress, introduced a bipartisan resolution with fellow California Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) to designate Jan. 13, 2022 as National Korean American Day. 

76 colleagues, including fellow Korean American Reps. Michelle Steel (R-Huntington Beach), Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.) and Andy Kim (D-N.J.), joined Kim and Gomez in introducing this resolution.

Kim led a similar resolution each year during her time in the State Assembly to honor her heritage and the more than 1.8 million Korean Americans who call the U.S. home. 

“Since the first Korean immigrants arrived in the United States on Jan. 13, 1903, Korean Americans have made significant contributions in all aspects of American life across our nation’s communities,” said Kim. “As one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress and an immigrant from South Korea who represents a district that includes a vibrant Korean American community, I am proud to honor my heritage, recognize the 1.8 million Korean Americans in the U.S. today, and promote the important role that Korean Americans play in defining America as a land of opportunity by introducing this resolution to honor Korean American Day.”

“Since the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States 119 years ago, Korean Americans have added tremendous value to the social fabric and economic output of this country,” said Gomez. “Most recently, we have seen countless examples of Korean American businesses and community groups stepping up to do their part to keep our neighbors safe and healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to represent Koreatown in Los Angeles — home to the largest Korean American community in the United States — and it is a great pleasure to lead this resolution to recognize the contributions of Korean Americans across the country.”

“Since the first Korean immigrants arrived in the United States in 1903, many Korean Americans like me came to this country with the hope of achieving their own American Dream,” said Steel. “Today we celebrate the vibrant community of Korean Americans in the United States, and all that they have worked to achieve. I’m proud to honor our community with this bipartisan resolution.” 

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