Rochester New York Heralds the Joint Origins of National Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Hon. Ruby Moy, First Asian American Pacific Islander professional working in the White House, as former Chief of Staff to Congressman Frank Horton from Rochester NY, Hon. Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and founder of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus CAPAC and Mary Ho, China Millennium Council President at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. recount their historical efforts to proudly establish legislation and Presidential proclamation designating the month of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

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.”

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