Senator Barack Obama yesterday released the following statement commemorating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:
“The month of May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – a time to honor and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of the nearly 13 million Asian and Pacific Americans (AAPI) who have helped build a strong and vibrant America. The APA community represents many ethnicities and languages that span across generations, and their shared achievements are an important part of the American experience.
“The APA story and community are also personal to me. Members of my family are of Asian descent and it is a community that I became a part of while growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia and living in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. APA Heritage Month reminds us of our commonalities in history, the values that bring us together and how Asian Pacific Americans will shape America’s future.
“Beyond acknowledging the contributions of the APA community, APA Heritage Month is also an opportunity for us to recognize the challenges we still face. Our nation is at war, our planet is in peril, and for increasing numbers of Americans of Asian and Pacific descent, the American dream is in danger of slipping away.
“As President, I will work with the APA community to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable and portable healthcare that will also reduce the language and cultural barriers that limit access to our medical system. We will make sure the global economy works for APAs by fixing our public education system, making college affordable through an annual $4,000 tax credit, and equipping our workers with the skills and training they need to compete.
“We will invest in renewable energy, which will ease our rising fuel costs while also saving our planet. We will do more to support small businesses, including strengthening prog rams that provide capital to minority-owned businesses. We will develop comprehensive immigration reforms that strengthen our security while affirming our heritage as a nation of immigrants, and reach. We will restore our Constitution and the rule of law, including our commitment to human rights abroad and civil liberties at home.
“Finally, we must forge a more effective regional framework for collective security in Asia and the Pacific to promote political and economic stability, confront transnational threats like terrorism and influenza, and collectively address environmental concerns.
“With your support, I am confident that we can address these challenges. I am thankful to the many leaders, campaign organizers and grassroots volunteers of Asian and Pacific descent across the country, who have registered thousands of new voters, conducted phone-banking, organized canvassing trips, hosted political events, translated campaign materials into numerous Asian languages, and much more. By reaching out directly to the APA community, we can ensure that APAs are well represented in this national conversation about our future and the movement to write our destiny.
“So, as we celebrate APA Heritage Month, let us honor the achievements of Asian Pacific Americans who have contributed so much to the success and prosperity of our nation, and who must be a part of our effort to change America.
“The story of the APA community is quintessential American story about drawing strength from our diversity to achieve extraordinary things. With your continued energy, enthusiasm, passion and activism, the change we seek is within reach.”