WASHINGTON — May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 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) and the House Democratic leader released the following statements:
CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a chance to celebrate the immense contributions and rich histories of the AANHPI community. From Emilie Kekāuluohi Widemann Macfarlane’s work in women’s suffrage, to Kala Bagai’s activism for immigrant communities, to Secretary Norman Mineta’s lifelong fight for civil liberties, AANHPIs have long been vital to the success of our nation and we stand on these trailblazers’ shoulders.
“Today, we continue to strengthen America as health care workers, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, artists, athletes, military service members, public servants, and more. And we continue to shape its culture as one of the most diverse groups in the nation, representing over 23 million people with over 50 different ethnicities and hundreds of languages.
“I am proud to serve as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, where we are committed to ensuring that the voices and needs of the AANHPI community are uplifted and advanced in the halls of Congress not just in May, but every month year-round. With an alarming rise in xenophobic rhetoric and legislation in tandem with the surge in anti-Asian violence since the start of the pandemic and beyond, we must stand united in speaking out against discrimination, increasing AANHPI representation in all sectors of society, and celebrating our cultural heritages.
“That is why my fellow CAPAC members and I successfully passed bills like the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and the bill creating a commission to study the creation of a National Museum of AAPI History and Culture, and were immensely proud when President Biden signed both critical pieces of legislation into law. From health equity and immigration to language access and data disaggregation, we remain dedicated to building on these landmarks to address all the unique challenges facing our communities.”
House Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.): “During Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month we celebrate the rich history, culture and contributions of the AANHPI community. America is a gorgeous mosaic of people from around the world our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. It is an economic strength, a competitive strength and a cultural strength. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, far too many of our AANHPI neighbors have experienced violent attacks and hate speech. This month and every month, we must stand up and recommit ourselves to combatting racism and discrimination in all of its forms.”
CAPAC First Vice-Chair Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Happy Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Despite the vital ways that AANHPIs have shaped our nation, the many contributions of our community are often forgotten or ignored, leading to the perception that AANHPIs are perpetual foreigners in America. That is why I am fighting to amplify the experiences, stories, culture, and history of AANHPIs, including leading the effort to establish a national museum dedicated to our community’s history, advocating for the inclusion of Asian Pacific American history in school curricula, and seeking federal recognition for holidays that are important to our community, such as Lunar New Year, Diwali, Eid, and many others.
“While I believe that we need to recognize AANHPI heritage every day and not just in the month of May, I am grateful to have a dedicated period to highlight the accomplishments of the AANHPI community and celebrate the face of American diversity.”
CAPAC Second Vice-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “May is a time to honor and reflect upon the vast contributions that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have made to our great nation. As a proud Japanese American, I am inspired by the many AANHPI leaders who fought for a more inclusive and equitable America.
“This month, we commemorate our community’s rich history while also reaffirming our fight to build a more inclusive America. AANHPIs make up a coalition of one of the most diverse demographics in the United States and our presence is only growing. As we celebrate AANHPI Heritage month, let us continue to honor our strength in diversity and the resilience of our communities. Even in the darkest of hours, AANHPI communities have relentlessly contributed to the fabric of this nation.
“I cannot wait to witness the assured achievements and contributions that have yet to unfold on behalf of the AANHPI community.”
CAPAC Whip Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach): “May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the AANHPI community throughout American history. As instances of hate and violence against the AANHPI community are on the rise, we must stand together to condemn bigotry, xenophobia, and racism. I am proud to join my CAPAC colleagues as we reaffirm our commitment to the rich diversity of our country and honor the AANHPI community this month!”
CAPAC Freshman Representative Rep. Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii): “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the contributions of our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to honor our unique cultures and traditions. I am proud to be a fourth-generation (Yonsei) Okinawan whose family immigrated to Hawaiʻi to work on the plantations in search of a better life.
“Our country has come a long way since my great-grandfather was interned during World War II, yet we still have an immense amount of work to do to address anti-Asian hate and violence and to live up to the ideals that this country was founded upon: freedom, equality, and opportunity. This month, as we reflect and celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us all come together to embrace the fabric of diversity that unites all of us in this country.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Throughout Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we honor the trailblazers who came before us, we celebrate who we are and we continue to forge that path toward a better tomorrow — where all of us can achieve the American Dream. The Asian American story is part of our nation’s story — it’s woven into the very fabric of our country’s history. This month and always, may we celebrate our struggles, our triumphs and everything in between.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a powerful recognition and celebration of the contributions of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. It is also a time to reflect on the challenges our communities have faced, from racist legislation to the alarming rise in anti-Asian hate. I’m proud to introduce a resolution marking May as AANHPI Heritage Month to celebrate the perseverance of our communities and the role we have played throughout our nation’s history.
“This month, and all year long, I’ll keep working to build a more inclusive and diverse future where members of the AANHPI community and all people are treated with dignity and respect.”
Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Sacramento): “I’m thrilled to join my colleagues in celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month and honoring the AANHPI community’s achievements and contributions in advancing our nation forward. From military service to small businesses and Hollywood success, our community is a key part of our nation’s identity. This month is an opportunity to highlight our past but also strengthen our commitment to a more diverse and vibrant America. As the longest-serving Indian American member of Congress, I’ll keep fighting for policies that uplift and empower our community.”
Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii): “Aloha! I am truly honored to join my Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus colleagues once again in honoring and commemorating the proud heritage and history of Asian and Pacific Americans throughout our country.
“In my Hawai’i we all stand on the broad shoulders of pioneering Asian and Pacific Islanders who contributed and succeeded in so many fields of endeavor, including, in the world of public service, George Ariyoshi, the first American of Asian descent elected governor of any state, Daniel Akaka, the first American of Native Hawaiian descent elected to Congress, and Patsy Mink, the first Asian American woman elected to Congress.
“We remember them today not simply for their success but especially for their perseverance. Their lives like so many other Asian and Pacific Americans continue to light the path forward through the obstacles and challenges of our own times.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles): “This Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, I want to recognize the immeasurable contributions and achievements of the AANHPI community in Los Angeles and across the country. California’s 34th Congressional District is home to thousands of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) constituents and thriving neighborhoods like Koreatown, Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Little Tokyo, and Little Bangladesh – making it one of the most unique and culturally diverse districts in the country.
“As an Executive Board member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am fighting to ensure the AANHPI community receives the recognition, support, and resources it deserves. This includes securing $7 million in federal funding to create the first Korean American National Museum in the country, creating a CA-34 Congressional Task Force to stop anti-Asian hate and violence, and helping AANHPI small businesses receive the loans they need to keep their doors open. It is an honor to serve as a voice for my AANHPI constituents and I remain committed to building a future where all of our communities can thrive.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month is a time to acknowledge the incredible contributions that the AANHPI community has made to our country. We have had major impacts on America, from art to science to sports. As the first South Asian woman elected to the House of Representatives, I’m so proud to be a part of this community that is such a crucial part of our society. As we continue to fight for equality in all forms, let’s lift each other up and feel pride in who we are. Happy AANHPI Heritage Month!”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the immense contributions of the AAPI community to our nation’s economy, history, and culture. As the representative of the largest AAPI community in the continental U.S., this month is especially meaningful for my district and constituents. This month and every month, I will work with my CAPAC colleagues to support the AAPI community and strive for a more inclusive society.”
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.): “AAPIs have made enormous contributions to our country and our world, but it’s a story that isn’t talked about enough. 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.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “The month of May is a time to celebrate the proud history and storied achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders across the United States, while also re-committing ourselves to overcoming the vitriol and racism that are faced by too many members of our AAPI community today. As we seek to build an even more inclusive American Dream for all, my hope is that we can fully embrace the diversity that is woven into the fabric of our country. I want to send my best wishes to all those celebrating AANHPI Heritage Month, and look forward to working with you all to grow our community further in the future.”
Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.): “As one of the first Korean American women elected to Congress in its 230-year history, I am proud to celebrate my culture during Heritage Month. AAPI communities continue to break barriers, and I am honored to celebrate our continued success.”
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Carson): “During Asian American, Native Hawaiian, & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we come together as a nation to honor the history, culture, and incredible contributions of the AANHPI community in the U.S. California’s 44th Congressional District is home to many diverse communities and thousands of AANHPIs who make the district so unique and wonderful. As we celebrate, we also must recognize the ongoing discrimination and hate they’ve been subjected to and recommit ourselves to combatting hate in all its forms. I am proud to join my colleagues to celebrate the incredible accomplishments and the integral role of the AANHPI community in making America what it is today.”
Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas): “As we mark the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we recognize the contributions these Americans have made to our country and our community — from Patsy Mink, the first Asian American woman in Congress, to writer and producer Kevin Kwan from Houston, to astronaut Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian American to fly in space. I join my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and neighbors in Houston in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, culture, and history. I look forward to continuing to partner with our dynamic Asian American community.”
Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.): “Nevada’s Third Congressional District is home to one of the largest and fastest-growing AANHPI communities in the nation. I am proud to represent and honor such a vibrant community especially during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. From our local small businesses in Chinatown and across the Valley to the Las Vegas Strip, Southern Nevada draws its strength in our diversity and AANHPI Nevadans are at the center of that success. This month and every month, I will continue to help elevate their voices, stories, and struggles in the highest halls of our democracy.”
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-El Monte): “As a proud representative of the San Gabriel Valley, which is home to more than half a million Asian Americans, I encourage everyone to celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month in May. The fabric of the United States would not be the same without the countless contributions and sacrifices of the AANHPI population, so let us come together this month, continue to reject anti-Asian hate, and support each other to build an even stronger country.”
Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Whittier): “I am proud to celebrate the achievements, history, and cultures of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. My district in Southern California is home to one of the most vibrant AAPI communities in the country. I know just how vital the contributions of our AAPI neighbors are to America’s success. Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes over the last few years — including the tragic shooting in Monterey Park in January. We must do more to stop this violence. Together with my CAPAC colleagues, I will keep fighting to protect AAPI Americans from discrimination and ensure everyone can feel safe and protected in our communities.”
Rep. Norma Torres (D-Ontario): “Thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders call the Inland Empire home. Their community’s story — a story of immigrants, hard work, and innovation — embodies everything that makes our country great. This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I join my colleagues in honoring the past and present contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. America would not be America without them.”
Founded in 1994, CAPAC is composed of members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the AAPI community.