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President Joe Biden Keynotes APAICS 30th Annual Gala “Our Communities. Our Leaders. Our Legacy.”

WASHINGTON - On Tuesday evening, President Joseph R. Biden gave the keynote address at the APAICS 30th Annual Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on May 14, 2024, to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AA & NH/PI) community during AA & NH/PI Heritage Month.


Founded by the late former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta in 1994, APAICS is the leading organization dedicated to promoting AA & NH/PI participation and representation at all levels of the political process. The gala, titled “Our Communities. Our Leaders. Our Legacy.” gathered 1,350 attendees, the highest-attended in organizational history, from across the country to celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary and the rich contributions of the AA & NH/PI community. It is the largest gathering of AA & NH/PI elected officials and government appointees at the federal, state, and local levels.


The event, emceed by evening news anchor Eun Yang, featured special remarks from House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries; honorary gala co-chairs Congressman Ted Lieu and Congresswoman Jill Tokuda; and Congresswoman Grace Meng. The evening’s honorees include CAPAC Chair and APAICS Board Member Congresswoman Judy Chu with the Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award; former U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta with the Pioneer Award; screenwriter and producer of Crazy, Rich, Asians Adele Lim with the Vision Award; and Papa Ola Lōkahi with Community Leadership Achievement.


“All of you represent a simple truth that there is no singular Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander identity. The diversity of your cultures and the breadth of your achievements have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our country,” said President Biden. “You represent how we are a nation of immigrants, a nation of Dreamers, a nation of freedom. That’s the America we share. That’s the America we know.”


“We are a gorgeous nation of people from all across the world and central to it is this community. Central to our future is this community,” said Leader Jeffries. “Together, I am confident that our future can be brighter than our past.”


“There was a time when we were invisible in the halls of Congress. As a result, there was no one to speak up for us when one of the most discriminatory acts in our nation’s history was passed, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and when Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II,” said CAPAC Chair Chu. “This is why it is so significant for me to see the immense growth of our power. Today, we have 21 AANHPI Members of Congress and 76 CAPAC Members, a historic high. And we have used our seat at the table to push for the rights and needs of our communities.”


“I have seen firsthand depend on coalitions we build,” said former U.S. Associate Attorney General Gupta. “Coalition is something inherent to the AANHPI communities. We ourselves represent so many different cultures, languages, religions and ethnicities.”


“We are no longer the exception. But we will not stop until that shiny beacon of Hollywood is a representation of all of us, not just some of us,” said screenwriter, director and producer Adele Lim.


“Equity isn’t a word. Equity is a practice. Equity must be practiced,” said Sheri Daniels, executive director of Papa Ola Lōkahi. “So tonight I challenge us all to practice equity intentionally.”


“We are a community of communities, and we are so much stronger and better for it. When one of us is at the table, we will uplift our sisters and brothers who are still fighting for representation until we are all seen and heard,” said Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, president & CEO of APAICS. “The success of APAICS is not singular, but takes all of us.”


View the full recording of the President’s remarks here.


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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 American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.


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