WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today released the following statement in commemoration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month which runs during the month of May.
“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is an annual recognition that celebrates the impact of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made and continues to make in the United States.
“The presence and influence of the AAPI community in the United States has been growing steadily since the 19th century. As of 2019, there are 22.4 million AAPI individuals in America, 475,000 of whom call Maryland home. The AAPI community is incredibly diverse, made up of a wide array of cultures spanning many countries and territories, which includes over 50 ethnicities, over one hundred languages, and multiple religions. We know that the AAPI community makes up about 7 percent of our total population and this rich and diverse community has an outsized impact on every pillar of our society.
“As Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, each year, I look forward to the market’s ever-growing celebration and empowerment of AAPI small business owners and entrepreneurs. In Maryland alone, there are 13,375 AAPI owned businesses, many of which include restaurants and eateries from AAPI small business owners. I am in awe of the resilience and determination we have seen from our small business owners over the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue pushing to provide them with support from the federal government.
“At the start of this month, we mourned the passing of my good friend and former colleague, Norman Mineta. Representative Mineta dedicated his life to service as a Mayor, Congressman, and Cabinet member. In 1941, the United States Government interned his family along with hundreds of thousands of other Japanese Americans. During his tenure as a legislator, he co-founded and chaired the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. He also led the charge on the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which directed the Federal Government to issue a formal apology to and compensate the survivors of Japanese internment. He inspired generations of Asian Americans to get involved in politics. We miss him but his legacy will live on for years to come.
“During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I join all Marylanders in honoring and celebrating the AAPI community in Maryland and across the country.”