Today, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. said "All Americans should join in celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, which began on May 1. May is a special opportunity to pay tribute to the many important contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and to address the challenges they are still facing.
"Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month falls in May because of key anniversaries in the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including: the arrival in the U.S. of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869).
"The AAPI community is one of the fastest growing populations. An estimated 18.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, representing a diverse community of backgrounds, cultures and experiences now make their homes in the U.S. making valuable contributions to every aspect of American life. Their unique contributions enhance the fabric and character of our great country," Rep. Jackson pointed out.
"AAPI men and women are leaders in all areas -- in business and government, science and medicine, the arts and our Armed Forces, education and sports. While we celebrate these successes, we must also remember that many AAPI communities continue to struggle to overcome disparities in education, employment, housing and health care. For example, there are still high rates of poverty in some of the Southeast Asian American communities.
"Fortunately, my party is fighting to create jobs for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; make college more affordable for AAPI young people, including by preventing interest rates on need-based student loans from doubling in July; and protecting Social Security and Medicare for the nearly one million AAPI seniors who rely on these programs.
"We must work hard to help AAPI communities meet the challenges that many of them continue to face," Rep. Jackson said. "I will fight GOP proposals that would harm AAPI communities, such as ending the Medicare guarantee, making college less affordable, shredding the safety net for the most vulnerable and repealing key initiatives to reduce health disparities in minority communities, such as training programs that foster diversity among health care professionals.
"I, along with my fellow Democrats in Congress, will continue to work to reignite the American dream for all Americans, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, by building the pillars that have always made our economy strong: small businesses, entrepreneurs and an all-inclusive and thriving middle class," Rep. Jackson concluded.