Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

This morning we recognized Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month in Council Chambers with a festive celebration of the community and this year's three outstanding honorees: Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American Article III judge in the United States; Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, a community activist whose research helped lead to a major U.S. civil rights decision; and Tia Carrere, an actress, model, and two-time Grammy award winner who helped champion long-denied compensation for the Filipino Veterans of World War II.

As part of APIA Heritage Month, the city also released a report, Who We Are, How We Matter, which provides a snapshot of the APIA community’s involvement and progress in the areas of business, labor, government, politics, the environment, arts and entertainment, education and public safety. Among the findings are:
  • According to the 2010 Census, APIAs comprise 11.4% of the city’s total population, the third largest ethnic group after Latinos and non-Hispanic whites. There are more than 420,000 Asians and more than 4,000 Pacific Islanders living in our city.
  • APIAs contribute more to the national economy than any other minority group, with APIA-owned businesses ranking second after whites in the amount of payroll dollars and number of employees.
  • APIAs voted in record numbers in the 2008 general election.
  • APIAs are more likely to call themselves “environmentalists” than most California voters.
Many thanks to the Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Committee and its chair, Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels, for all of their work to make this year's recognition of the APIA community such a success.