Skip To Content
May 01, 2020

CAPAC Members Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which commemorates the history, contributions, and achievements of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout the month of May. The observance originally began as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week,” which was established through a joint Congressional resolution in 1978, and was later designated as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month” in section 102 of title 36, United States Code. The month of May was chosen due to two important milestones in AAPI history: May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States, and May 10, 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad was completed with substantial contributions from Chinese immigrant workers. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:


CAPAC Leadership


Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“America has always been made stronger by the contributions of diverse communities that are deeply woven into the fabric of our nation. And Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is our chance to celebrate the immeasurable contributions from Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have been so vital to our country’s success. From the Chinese railroad workers who built our nation’s first transcontinental railroad, to trailblazers like Dalip Singh Saund and Patsy Mink, to our health care providers and essential workers who are risking their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPIs are daily making America what it is today. And with anti-Asian bigotry and hate incidents on the rise due to the coronavirus crisis, it has never been more important to embrace the rich diversity of our country and speak out against xenophobia and discrimination.


“In Congress, I’m proud that we now have a record 20 AAPI members, as well as our highest CAPAC membership in history due to allies who are strong champions for the AAPI communities they represent. That is why I always look forward to celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with my colleagues. And while we won’t be able to do so in person this year, we will continue to uplift the vibrant history and widespread contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our nation.”


Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the development and history of our nation. From the Chinese laborers who built the first Transcontinental Railroad to Larry Itliong’s role in forming the United Farm Workers; from Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to Congress and co-author of Title IX to Secretary Norman Mineta, CAPAC’s founding chair and the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet – AAPI legacies are interwoven into our nation’s socioeconomic growth. And today, there is no greater time to share our appreciation for the over two million working on the frontlines of this COVID-19 pandemic in health care, law enforcement, first responders, transportation, supermarkets, and other service industries. As we reflect upon the tremendous impact and resilience of AAPIs, and the diversity of these communities during the month of May, we are reminded how the AAPI narrative has enriched our lives.”


Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), Second Vice Chair:

“Every year, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to pay our respects to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for the rich history, culture, and traditions they have shared with us. As a proud Japanese American, I am inspired by my ancestors and the AAPI leaders who came before us to keep fighting for a more inclusive and equitable America where the American dream can be achieved by all. We owe a great deal of gratitude to past generations who have paved the way and weaved our history into the fabric of America. I hope that we can all take the time this month to recognize their contributions and honor the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that help make this country so great.”


Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“I’m proud to join my fellow CAPAC members and the AAPI community across the nation in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. During the month of May, we celebrate the indelible contributions Asian Americans have made to our society and culture. As we remember the first arrival of Japanese immigrants on our shores in May of 1843, and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad resulting from the hard work of many Chinese immigrants in May of 1869, let us honor the notion that AAPIs have been integral to the very fabric of our nation for centuries. The resurgence of blatant discrimination against AAPIs throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been a painful but important reminder that there is still much work to be done to combat xenophobia and hatred in our society. I look forward to continuing on in that fight.”


Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), CAPAC Freshman Representative:

“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is an important time to recognize the incredible contributions of the AAPI community throughout America. It’s also important, in these tough times, to recognize the incredible challenges facing our community. We’ve seen anti-AAPI and racist language and actions increase over the past months. I have experienced this discrimination first hand. As we look to the months ahead, we must stand in solidarity against this behavior, and work together to build a safer, more prosperous and just world for future generations.”


CAPAC Executive Board Members


Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, in Hawaii and across our nation, we celebrate our more than 45 distinct ethnicities and 100 language dialects. But the hateful rhetoric directed at the AAPI community during the coronavirus pandemic reminds us of what work remains. Our community’s resilience and pride will continue to inspire us as we fight for equality and opportunity for all.”         


Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07):

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The AAPI community has made significant contributions to American society – whether it be through the arts, military, business, or public service. This month we celebrate the rich history and diversity of our AAPI community and honor all the leaders who paved the way forward. As the longest-serving Indian-American in Congress, I will always be a strong advocate for policies that support and empower the AAPI community.”


Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39):

“I’m proud to join the Asian American Pacific Islander Community in the 39th District and across the country in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. During the month of May, we recognize the incredible contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our country. They are leaders, pioneers, and trailblazers—paving the path for progress and success in the United States. During this challenging time, the AAPI community has gone above and beyond to help every one of our neighbors. They’re providing vital healthcare services, making food for our essential workers, and donating much-needed PPE supplies. Not only do we celebrate the accomplishments of the AAPI community, we support them through every challenge they face as well. Amid the coronavirus, we need to call out the racism, xenophobia, and discrimination that’s been directed at the AAPI community. Diversity and inclusion are the 39th District’s and our country’s greatest strengths. I will continue to ensure that the voices of our Asian American Pacific Islander community are heard in D.C. and in the district.”


Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34):

“I am honored to go to work each and every day to advocate for the rights and dignity of the thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who call California’s 34th Congressional District home. The City of Los Angeles was built on the diverse culture and heritage found in communities like Koreatown, Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Little Tokyo, and Little Bangladesh. As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month begins, I join my colleagues in celebrating the countless contributions the AAPI community has made to our city, the State of California, and the United States.”


CAPAC Associate Board Members


Congressman David Trone (MD-06):

“This May as we come together to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, we especially recognize the contributions of our AAPI community in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. As our nation continues to grapple with this unprecedented crisis, we must recommit to fighting discrimination and hate in all forms. I will continue to advocate on behalf of my AAPI constituents and communities across the country in the halls of Congress.”


Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03):

“May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, is a time to celebrate the rich cultures and contributions of America’s AAPI communities that have made the fabric of our nation so much stronger. I’m lucky to represent such a strong and diverse AAPI community in Nevada’s 3rd district, including workers, families, and many AAPI-owned small businesses that need our support now more than ever during this pandemic. This month and every month, I will continue to lift up the voices, stories, and issues of southern Nevada’s AAPI communities.”


Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12):

“This May we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Asian Pacific Americans, a growing political, economic and social force across our country. This group of Americans make everyday contributions to our society as business owners, members of our armed services, doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists and public servants. As a country of immigrants, we are strengthened by our diversity. As a proud member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I remain committed to making sure no one is ever targeted or discriminated against because of their background.”


Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32):

“Asian American and Pacific Islanders in our San Gabriel Valley and across the U.S. continue to bless our great country, a proud nation of immigrants. As many of us have united to confront the global COVID-19 pandemic, some are recklessly scapegoating Asian Americans, fueling racist attacks and hate crimes. We stand with the AAPI community, and we will continue to reject stigma and bigotry. This is why it is perhaps more important than ever before that we come together to lift up Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to recognize their invaluable past and ongoing contributions to our nation. I invite everyone to join us in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May.”

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38):

“May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when we celebrate the contributions and heritage of this diverse group of Americans. At a time when there’s so much prejudice towards minorities in our country, it’s also important to dispel misinformation and instead lift up AAPI stories. I’m so proud to represent several diverse and vibrant cities with prominent Asian Pacific American communities. As we work through this pandemic, I’m committed to ensuring to a full, inclusive recovery that sets all Americans on a path to long-term economic security and prosperity.”