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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Madam Speaker, I rise today to express strong support for H. Res. 435--Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I applaud the leadership and continued efforts of Chairman Mike Honda, as well as my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for bringing this Resolution before us today.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was established in 1977 by the efforts of Representatives Norman Mineta and Frank Horton, and Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga who introduced resolutions asking for a Presidential declaration that the first ten days of May honor the rich history and contributions of our nation's Asian Pacific Americans. In 1992 Congress expanded the commemoration to a month, in order to fully recognize the impact that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have on our great nation.
From the early 1800s to today, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played a critical role in the development of this country. This year's theme: ``Lighting the Past, Present and Future,'' is fitting as the world's attention turned to the United States to see the historic inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama. President Obama's diversity reflects the richness and strength of our nation.
We must reaffirm our commitment to the promise of a future for all Americans by eradicating racial and ethnic health disparities, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, providing educational opportunities for the underserved and creating jobs. I am proud that we ensured full equity for the Filipino veterans who proudly served under the American flag during World War II when we passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I also applaud my colleagues for the recent passage of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which enables the Department of Justice to assist the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes based on race, ethnic background, and religion, and extends protections to more Americans.
From the construction of the transcontinental railroads to the heroic contributions in World War II and beyond, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made lasting contributions in every facet of American society. We must continue to acknowledge the great achievements this vast and diverse community has provided this nation and I urge my colleagues to support to this resolution.
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