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Bill Passed to Recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 25, 2017, 6:01 PM HST
* Updated May 25, 4:30 PM
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Sen. Mazie Hirono was among lawmakers who led a bill that will recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May. U.S. Senate photo.

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution led by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to recognize the month of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The resolution celebrates the contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

“We celebrate May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and reflect on the significant contributions the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made to our country,” said Sen. Hirono. “It’s also a reminder to us all that although the AAPI community has made tremendous progress, there is much work to do. Mahalo to Senators Duckworth, Harris and our colleagues from both sides of the aisle for celebrating pioneers like Hawai‘i’s own Daniel K. Inouye, Daniel K. Akaka, Patsy Mink, and Hiram Fong, and for recognizing the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make to our country every day.”

“The month of May is a time to take pride in the numerous contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout our nation’s history, and of the continued contributions of their children and their children’s children,” said Sen. Duckworth. “I’m proud to work with Senators Hirono and Harris as we celebrate the rich history of the AAPI community today and for years to come.”

“I am proud to stand alongside my Senate colleagues to celebrate the strides that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made in public service, media, education, and beyond,” said Sen. Harris. “I remain committed to representing and fighting for the 6.5 million Asian American and Pacific Islanders in California, and for those living across the country. During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us recognize and celebrate the immense contributions of the AAPI community and remember the strength that comes from having such diversity in our country.”

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the history and achievements of our diverse communities,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Director Christopher Kang. “It is also a time to reflect on our communities’ resilience and the challenges we face as a nation today. We thank Senators Hirono, Duckworth, Harris and Senate leadership for this resolution recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and as the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, it is our opportunity to unite and mobilize more than ever before to advance our future.”

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The measure was co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Robert P. Casey, Jr (D-Pa.), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

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2017 marks several notable milestones for the AAPI community, including the 115th anniversary of the date of enactment of the Act of July 1, 1862, which promoted the construction of the transcontinental railroad completed with substantial contributions from Chinese immigrants. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. 2017 also marks the 25th anniversary of the formal establishment of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

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