May 26, 2015 Washington DC – Thirty eight years ago, Representatives Frank Horton from Rochester NY (R-NY) and Norman Mineta (D-CA) introduced House Resolution 540 (Pacific/Asian Heritage Week) in Congress to proclaim the first ten days of May as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week now known as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. May was denoted to commemorate the first Japanese immigrant to the U.S., and also to mark the anniversary of the completion of the trans-continental railroad, the majority of the tracks laid by Chinese workers. Subsequently President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution on October 5, 1978. In 1992, President Bush signed legislation into law designating the month of May as we know now as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Law HR-5572 originally introduced by Horton and Mineta, was unanimously approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate during the 102nd Congress.
During the first ever White House Summit on AAPIs, U.S. Surgeon Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy M.D. was installed as the new co-chair of WHIAAPI. President Obama proclaims, “The rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders spans the world and the depths of America’s history. Generation after generation, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders have forged a proud legacy that reflects the spirit of our Nation. During AAPI Heritage Month, we honor the perseverance of those who courageously reached for their hopes and dreams in a new land, and we celebrate the important impact the AAPI community has made to our Nation’s progress…As we commemorate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we pay tribute to all those in the AAPI community who have striven for a brighter future for the next generation. Together, let us recommit to embracing the diversity that enriches our Nation and to ensuring all our people have an equal chance to succeed in the country we love.”
May 18, 2015 Washington DC – Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy M.D., M.B.A. was confirmed as the 19th U.S. Surgeon General on December 15, 2014. Dr. Murthy oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Services USPHS Commissioned Corps, comprised of over 6,800 uniformed health officers who serve in global locations to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of our nation. Moreover, Dr. Murthy’s announcement during the first ever White House Summit on AAPIs as Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders WHIAAPI stressed the importance of connecting and mobilizing the AAPI community for collaborative goals.”We need to learn from communities across the country to make sure we’re lifting up all communities together,” Murthy remarked.
Dr. Murthy is the son of immigrants from India and discovered a love for the art of healing early in his childhood while spending time in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. He has devoted himself to improving public health through service, clinical care, research, education and entrepreneurship. Caring for patients he considers the greatest honor in his life and served thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students as a clinician-educator.
Dr. Murthy has over two decades of perspective improving health in communities across the country and the world. He co-founded Swasthya, a community health partnership in rural India to train women to be health providers and educators. Moreover, he co-founded VISIONS, an HIV AIDS education program in India and the U.S.
Seen as a progressive leader who can use 21st century approaches and technology to modernize the role of Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy focuses efforts on building cross-sector community partnerships to resolve health issues including obesity and tobacco-related disease, reduce the stigma related to mental illness, improve vaccination rates and promote preventative health strategies. Dr. Murthy strongly believes our American nation’s greatest strength comes from its peoples. Improving the health of our peoples means strengthening our communities and our country. Unite Learn Prosper!
U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Christopher Lu stated emphatically the Value of Collaborations during his keynote opening remarks at the Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship 2015 National ACE Conference & Awards Ceremony held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Honorable Christopher Lu serves as the Chief Operating Officer of a 17,000 employee organization that strives to create greater opportunities for all Americans. Earlier Lu served as the White House Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President. As one of the highest ranking Asian Americans in the Obama Administration, Lu was also the Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
National ACE brings together the leadership and insights of business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and government officials from across the country. Unite Learn & Prosper theme showcased the issue of invisibility among the AAPI community in all industry sectors including higher education, business and workforce labor areas. Establishing a pipeline with fair access to opportunities critical to ensure inclusion and success of AAPI community. Latest findings on the Asian American Pacific Islanders AAPI business and consumer communities were shared by Nielsen, CNBC and ACE leadership team. Highlights included remarks by Honorable Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; Ken Niumatalolo, Head Football Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy; and Dominic Chu, Markets Reporter for CNBC and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduate.
LOST YEARS: A PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE is an international award winning epic documentary tracing back over 150 years of the Chinese diaspora covering four generations of racism as revealed through the journey and family story of Chinese Canadian filmmaker Kenda Gee. Traveling with his father Took Gee, they return to China and retrace the path of his grandfather, who sailed to Canada in the summer of 1921, and even earlier over a century ago, his great grandfather. A journey of hope for a myriad of Chinese who quickly encountered discriminatory laws including the head tax levied on new Chinese immigrants to Canada which ultimately deprived them of their rights as citizens. The story begins with the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 20th century China circa 1911 towards the end of World War II, recounting painful decades of anti-Chinese racial prejudice in North America. Extending from Vancouver Island and Angel Island, Gee’s journey takes him across Canada and America, retracing the footsteps and experiences of the Chinese immigrants and their modern day descendants. A moving account of their personal stories capture the enormous hardships and obstacles they overcame in order to obtain citizenship in their own new countries of birth and acceptance in a modern diverse global society. www.lostyears.ca
U.S. President Obama traveled to China and met with China President Xi Jinping to effect a reciprocal visa validity arrangement to broaden and fortify economic and people-to-people ties. Both countries mutually agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – and increase the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years. The U.S began issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014. The visa accord will enhance trade, investment, and business ties by facilitating travel and ease access to both economies. Extended validity visas for students and exchange visitors will foster the bonds between U.S. and China and facilitate travel for outstanding students from around the world who attend U.S. institutions of higher education. As a result of this arrangement, the U.S. hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs.
Welcoming a Growing Share of Chinese Travelers
- China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world, and in 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs
- Chinese travelers consistently rank the United States as their most-desired travel destination, yet less than 2 percent of total Chinese travelers come to the U.S.
- Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost
- A competitive visa policy will help U.S. meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs
Strengthening Bonds Between Chinese and American Students
- 28 percent of all foreign students and exchange visitors in the U.S. originate from China
- Chinese students in the U.S. spent $8 billion in 2013, an increase of nearly 24 percent over the previous year
- Visa accord will allow American and Chinese students to more easily travel back and forth, making foreign study a more attractive option, increasing opportunities for people-to-people ties, and boosting mutual understanding
Extending Visa Validity to Increase the Number of Chinese Travelers Coming to the U.S. and Support American Jobs. In order to support America’s most important and largest services export – tourism. Chinese travelers persistently rank the U.S. as their top desired travel destination, but only slightly more than 1.8 percent of total outbound travelers go to the U.S. Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost. A competitive visa policy is needed to secure the U.S. as the chosen destination for millions of Chinese travelers
Global growth of outbound travel from China represents an unprecedented opportunity to foster job creation across the country. China is the fastest growing outbound tourism market in the world, and Chinese visitors have accounted for 20 percent of the growth in overseas travel to the U.S. since 2008. In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the American economy and supporting more than 109,000 U.S. jobs. As incomes in China continue to rise, the number of Chinese citizens able to afford international travel and tourism is projected to more than double over the next few years, reaching the hundreds of millions. Close to 7.3 million Chinese are projected to travel to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting 440,000 jobs.
Increasing business travel will support the U.S. President’s goal of increasing exports. Increasing visa validity for U.S. citizens traveling to China makes it easier to respond to market and commercial opportunities in China, helping to boost U.S. exports, foster increased trade ties, and improve commercial linkages between U.S. and Chinese firms. In the near term, extending visa validity for Chinese business travelers will also help meet the President’s Select USA goal of boosting inward investment into the United States as the U.S. travel and tourism industry commits to making upfront investments in new hotels and other infrastructure in anticipation of a rise in Chinese inbound travel.
Asian American Journalists Association proudly celebrated their 25th Annual Scholarship and Gala with keynote speakers Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist José Antonio Vargas and Presidential Advisory Council Commissioner and actor Maulik Pancholy.
José Antonio Vargas spoke of his dilemma of his recent detainment at the Texas border as an undocumented immigrant and coming out of the closet as a gay man to his grandmother. He is a highly acclaimed and controversial journalist and documentary film writer, producing visual and editorial commentary impacting AIDS and immigration policies in the U.S. Vargas’ national and international appearances include Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor and The Colbert Report.
Maulik Pancholy’s accolades include the popular roles he portrayed as Jonathan in the award winning comedy tv show 30 Rock and Showtime’s award winning Weeds as Sanjay. His recent appointment as Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Council of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders brings to focus the social disparities and stereotypes AAPI still encounter and address the issue of bullying in new social media.
AAJA also launched their inaugural Media Institute Fellows Program led by renowned media experts Pamela Wu, Emmy nominated former news anchor & television host; and Ellen Lee, freelance journalist and former staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Distinguished speakers included Jan Yanehiro, Emmy award winning national broadcast journalist and author; Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions and digital editor of the Seattle Times; Cefann Kim, general assignment, live newscast reporter, broadcast journalism NYC; and Chris Nguyen, anchor and breaking news reporter, Sacramento CA. The Media Institute Fellows Program was sponsored by Gannett, General Motors, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.