Commentary

May 2, 2014

Honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Sgt. 1st Class Chadd E. Breit
Equal Opportunity Advisor NTC and Fort Irwin

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated nationally in May to recognize the history, diversity, contributions by those cultures to the United States.

We pay tribute to the generations of Asian American and Pacific Islander people, who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success. This month was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The “Asian/Pacific American” designation encompasses more than 50 ethnic or language groups including native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. There are now more Asian and Pacific Islander groups than in the past – with 28 Asian and 19 Pacific Island subgroups representing a vast array of languages and cultures. These groups include Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Asian Indian Americans, Laotian Americans, Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Thai Americans, Pakistani, Samoan, Guamanian, and many other language groups. “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander” refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race or races as “Native Hawaiian,” “Guamanian or Chamorro,” “Samoan,” or “Other Pacific Islander,” or designate themselves as Tahitian, Mariana Islander, or Chuukese.

For many in the AAPI community, their story is one also marked by lasting inequality and bitter wrongs. Immigrants seeking a better life were often excluded, subject to quotas, or denied citizenship because of their race. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders endured decades of persecution and broken promises. Japanese Americans suffered profoundly under internment during World War II, even as their loved ones fought bravely abroad. During the last decade, South Asian Americans – particularly those who are Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh – have faced senseless violence and suspicion due only to the color of their skin or the tenets of their faith.

Generations of AAPI’s have helped make America what it is today – through proud accomplishments by: laborers, who connected our coasts one and a half centuries ago; patriots who fought overseas while their families were interned at home; those who endured the harsh conditions of Angel Island, and; to the innovators and entrepreneurs, who are driving our nation’s economic growth in Silicon Valley and beyond. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month offers us an opportunity to celebrate vast contributions, reflect on the challenges still faced by AAPI communities, and recommit to making the American dream a reality for all.

The history of the AAPI community shows us how, with hope and resolve, we can overcome problems we face. We can reaffirm our legacy as a nation where all things are possible for all people. As we recognize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who are fulfilling that promise in every corner of our country, let us recommit to giving our children and grandchildren the same opportunity in the years ahead.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Honoring Holocaust victims

The nation observes Days of Remembrance to remember the Holocaust and honor the victims and survivors of that genocide. This year, the week-long commemoration is from April 12 through April 19. The theme is “Learning from the Holocaust: Choosing to Act” and was designated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. An observance...
 
 

You have to start with a dream

Gustavo Bahena Colonel Cathy Walter, deputy commander of Nursing Services with United States Army Medical Department Activity here, speaks at the 2015 Fort Irwin Women’s History Month celebration, March 11. Fort Irwin celebrated Women’s History Month with a ceremony at a packed venue here, March 11. Sandy Basin Community Center was standing room only for...
 
 
JAG_seal

April 15 is around the corner

The Fort Irwin Tax Center has been providing free tax preparation services to Soldiers, retirees, and their dependents, as well as all Reservists and members of the National Guard (on orders for more than 30 days), since Jan. 2...
 

 

‘Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives’

The nation celebrates Women’s History Month in March and Fort Irwin will host a ceremony to honor the observance, March 11. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Sandy Basin Community Center and is hosted by the installation’s Equal Opportunity/Equal Employment Opportunity offices and Operations Group. The guest speaker will be Col. Cathy Walter,...
 
 

Celebrating a century of life, history, culture

The National Training Center and Fort Irwin invites the community to celebrate African American/Black History Month at Sandy Basin Community Center at 11:30 a.m., Feb. 11. The theme for this year’s observance is “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” The theme was proclaimed by the 100-year-old organization, Association for the Study of African...
 
 
Winkfield_leads_march

My transformation

A well-known Department of the Army civilian here, and friend of many, spoke at a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, Jan. 7. John Winkfield, director of the National Training Center Equal Employment Opportunity office, s...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin