|9:27 PM EDT||
Bobby Scott, D-VA 3rd
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for leading the effort to commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage month.
During this month-long commemoration, Americans of Asian Pacific heritage celebrate achievements and major contributions for almost 12 million American citizens of Asian and Pacific heritage. Whether we are seeking of arts, education, government, business, athletics, medicine, law, or the military, Asian Pacific Americans have not only contributed but excelled.
Several congressional organizations reflect this unique relationship between Congress and Asian Pacific Americans.
I recently joined my distinguished colleagues, Representative Issa, Representative Filner and Representative Rohrabacher, in founding Friends of the Philippines. The bipartisan membership comprises Members who are working to promote better relations with our longstanding ally, the Philippines. I am also a member of the India Caucus, which similarly works to promote a better relationship with India.
The bicameral and bipartisan Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus was created by Congressman Norman Mineta, who is now Secretary of Transportation, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in 1994. Both have served as Chair of the caucus. In the 108th Congress, this Congress, Congressman DAVID WU serves as Chair and Congressman HONDA serves as vice Chair of that caucus. 115 Members of Congress have joined the caucus and work together on policies and legislation that are of concern to
Asian Pacific Americans. The caucus is working hard not only to educate other Members about the history and contributions of Asian Pacific Islanders but also to protect and advance the constitutional rights of all Americans.
My connection with the celebration begins with my maternal grandfather who was born in the Philippines. Around 1900 he immigrated to the United States aboard a naval vessel at an early age. He landed in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was adopted by a family in Raleigh. He became a pharmacist but unfortunately died before I was born.
The historic significance of this month involves two events that occurred in May which determined why this month was chosen to celebrate a week, and now a month, for Asian Pacific American heritage contributions. The first occurred on May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States. The second occurred on May 10, 1869, known as Golden Spike Day, when the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese
Before Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law in 1992, it began as a week-long observance of Asian Pacific Americans' contributions to this country. In 1977, Congressman Horton introduced H.J. Res. 540, legislation to authorize the President to proclaim annually the first 10 days in May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Congressman Mineta led the efforts to enact H.J. Res. 1007, which in 1979 began as an annual celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. In
1989, legislation was introduced to convert the week into a month, and in 1992 legislation was enacted to make the annual month an annual commemoration.
Mr. Speaker, I join the gentleman from California tonight as we urge all Americans to learn the history of Asian Pacific Americans and to celebrate their contributions to the culture and heritage of our Nation. I want to thank the gentleman from California for leading the effort to make sure that this was properly commemorated.