WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today recognizing Asian Pacific Heritage Month, which begins today, May 1:
“This month, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, an opportunity to honor the contributions of 15.9 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. During May, we will mark two important anniversaries in the history of this vibrant community: the arrival in the U.S. of the first Japanese immigrants, on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad—due in large part to the hard work of Chinese immigrants—on May 10, 1869. For more than a century and a half, the story of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been an integral part of the American story. At every stage, and in every walk of life, they have contributed so much to the success of our nation.
“The AAPI community—one of our fastest-growing—embraces a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. It includes more than 320,000 veterans, more than 48,000 brave troops who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, more than 1.1 million small business owners, and leaders in fields from education to the arts to public service.
“As we celebrate their contributions, Congress is also working hard to improve the lives of Asian American and Pacific Islander families, along with all American families. Small-business tax credits, part of the recent economic stimulus package, will help the millions of AAPI-owned businesses. And last year, Congress raised the minimum wage, benefiting more than 250,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and helped cut the cost of college for the more than 176,000 AAPI students enrolled in degree-granting institutions.
“May Asian Pacific American Heritage Month inspire all of us to reflect on our shared history, and to work harder toward bettering our shared future.”