“For many around the world, Los Angeles serves as a shining model of a modern, globalized, and multi-cultural society - all of which would not be possible without the contributions of our Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community. Although their rich cultures, traditions, religions, languages, and histories cannot be reduced to mere generalities, what they do share are the ideals of every American alike; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. From South Bay, to the San Gabriel Valley, Koreatown to Long Beach, Los Angeles County is (according to KCET) "the capital of Asian America". This month we celebrate their achievements, history, and more during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
With an immigrant experience dating back all the way to the 1800's, it is important to remember and learn from the challenges overcome by the AAPI community. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to Japanese internment during the Second World War, their perseverance and transcendence to overcome these atrocities continues to give us a sense of hope - that together we can overcome anything.
Today, AAPI’s continue to strengthen the fabric of American society both in their local communities and across the globe. Los Angeles is home to the first statewide AAPI elected official, first AAPI national president of the Screen Actors Guild, first openly-gay AAPI elected official in the county, the first Burmese American elected official in the country, and features the first AAPI majority legislative district in the continental U.S. In spite of this, the racism and xenophobia first experienced by Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants over 150 years ago has not entirely ceased in our society. Donald Trump’s egregious handling of this crisis and insistence to refer to COVID-19 by anything other than "coronavirus," underscores a somber reminder of the prejudice and discrimination that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans continue to face in our country. As Democrats, we are committed to leading and uniting our nation safely through this challenging time, and we are proud of the work of our clubs, like the Stonewall Democratic Club, who have passed resolutions taking a stand against this discrimination.
With the election of new Democratic Central Committee members, we are proud to welcome more AAPI members than ever before, and we are looking forward to working with our leaders to bring attention to one of our most culturally diverse groups in our nation. This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we stand with all Los Angeles Democrats in celebrating the achievements, service, and hard work our AAPI community in ensuring a more diverse Los Angeles. Let us remind ourselves that when we face our challenges together, we are not only stronger, but more whole. In the words of Japanese-American civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyana, a native of San Pedro, California, “we are all a part of one another.”"