WASHINGTON – Today, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) mourns the loss of its founder, former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
Incarcerated by the United States based solely on his race during World War II, Secretary Mineta became one of the most prominent figures in American history. His achievements include: becoming the first Asian American to become mayor of a major U.S. city; first Japanese American member of Congress elected from the lower 48 states; and first Asian American Cabinet Member, having served as Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton and Secretary of Transportation under President G.W. Bush.
While in Congress, Secretary Mineta co-founded APAICS and its sister organization, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). In 2006, Secretary Mineta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom–our nation’s highest civilian honor.
Susan Jin Davis, Board Chair of APAICS issued the following statement:
“It is with great grief and a very heavy heart that we face the passing of our cherished founder, our inspiration, our role model, and our icon, Secretary Norm Mineta.
“Secretary Mineta united our wonderfully diverse community, and made room for each and every one of us. Having endured internment and encountered racism and discrimination for being Japanese American, Secretary Mineta truly understood how important it was to fight for justice and equality. He was always our community’s strongest voice and never gave up hope that we could be a truly united nation.
‘Despite his stature and fame, Secretary Mineta was ever approachable and always generously gave us his time, care, and attention. He knew us by name and our story and, if he didn’t, he would take the time to learn about us and become a friend. I am forever grateful to Secretary Mineta for his leadership, encouragement and inspiration. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”
Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, President & CEO of APAICS issued the following statement:
“Secretary Mineta was a giant in our community. His legacy included many firsts, and beyond his historic wins, Secretary Mineta left an everlasting mark on our community, advocating for all of us to achieve greatness.
“Secretary Mineta’s resiliency and perseverance brought enormous visibility, investment and power to address the needs of our community. It is because of him, that we now celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, that our community is represented in the Executive Branch, and why the United States issued a formal apology to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Secretary Mineta’s wife Deni, his children David, Stuart, Bob and Mark, and his family and friends. We stand in the footsteps of greatness, and our community is forever indebted to the efforts and achievements of Secretary Mineta.”
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The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.