May is Asian-Pacific American
Heritage Month, a month dedicated to celebrate Asians and Pacific Islanders in
It was chosen as
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 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 by a majority of Chinese immigrants
on May 10, 1869 – 145 years ago.
The Asian-Pacific American designation
encompasses more than 50 ethnic or language groups, who have made numerous and
diverse contributions to our Army and our nation.
President Barack Obama in a
proclamation stated: “During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage
Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians
and Pacific Islanders, and we reflect on the many ways they have enriched our
“Like America itself, the AAPI
community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures – each
with vibrant histories and unique perspectives to bring to our national life.
Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have helped build,
defend and strengthen our nation – as farm workers and railroad laborers; as
entrepreneurs and scientists; as artists, activists and leaders of government. They
have gone beyond, embodying the soaring aspirations of the American spirit.”
This year’s theme,
“Diversity Leadership = Expanding Opportunity: An Imperative for America,”
reiterates the Army’s long tradition in understanding the power and potential
created by embracing diversity among the ranks.
During May, installations will
have celebrations and events, and highlight and share these stories with the
Fort Riley and the 1st
Infantry Division Equal Opportunity Office celebrated with an observance
luncheon May 21 at Riley’s Conference Center.
Guest speaker was Maria Flordeliza
R. Russell, a science teacher at Junction City Middle School, who is originally
from Tacloban City, Philippines. Russell talked about how she was given
opportunities and freedoms in America she might not have had in the
I encourage you to continue
to honor the contributions of Asian-Pacific Americans throughout the month and embrace
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