Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Floor Speech

By:  Judy Chu
Date: May 10, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize May as Asian Pacific American Heritage month and to a service organization from my district, the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) that provides crucial services to our community. This month gives us an opportunity to reflect and honor the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) who have enriched our nation with their countless contributions to American history.

While generations of AAPIs have had profound impact on our nation and have achieved the American Dream, the AAPIs community is extremely diverse and some AAPIs have challenges and require assistance from federal programs to overcome obstacles in the journey to achieve the American Dream. Around the country, there are number AAPI community based organizations that provide assistance to the diverse AAPI community and doing great work to support AAPIs families. I applaud them for the work that they do everyday to help AAPIs to overcome these obstacles and to support to better their lives for themselves and their families.

An example of an outstanding AAPI organization is the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) that is lead by a committed and dedicated individual--Kerry Doi, the President and CEO. The mission of the PACE is to create economic solutions to meet the challenges of employment, education, housing, business development and the environment in the Pacific Asian and other diverse communities. PACE is a non-profit community development organization founded in 1976 to address the employment and job training needs of the Pacific Asian Islander communities. PACE has since expanded into a variety of service areas, all tailored to meet the growing and changing needs of the multi-ethnic communities in Los Angeles County. Now, in addition to job training and employment services, significant PACE programs encompass: business development; early childhood education; financial education and asset building; housing and rehabilitation services; weatherization and energy-conservation programs; and affordable housing development. PACE's guiding principle in all their programs is the idea of expanding opportunity. A small sample of their business lines include:
An extensive workforce development center which offers a variety of job training opportunities.

190 affordable housing units and a home repair service to enable elderly and disabled persons to stay in their homes.

An extensive energy and environmental program that promotes energy conservation.

A business development center that provides entrepreneurial training, business counseling and access to capital.

28 school sites offering early childhood education programming for more than 1,900 low income children and their families.

A financial literacy and asset building program that provides financial skills training.

This year, PACE established a new initiative called the Diversity and Democracy: America's Strength program that celebrates the important contributions that our nation's many diverse ethnicities, nationalities and races have made to our way of life--and the important role that government has played in their success. With the donation of 40 tickets from Southwest Airlines, PACE embarked on a journey to bring a diverse group of Federal program participants to Washington, DC to meet and hold a briefing with their elected representatives in Congress and representatives of federal agencies and the White House to tell their stories of how these programs have helped them on their journey to achieve the American Dream. The clients who are of various ethnic backgrounds will tell their own unique story describing how various programs empowered them to be able to become productive, economically self-sufficient Americans. They hope by conveying their real stories from PACE program participants will illustrate the key role that the various Federal programs have played in the lives of low income, ethnic minority, refugees, immigrants and asylees. Numbers tell one story; faces tell an even more important story.

As we in Congress debate the funding levels of the Federal programs that have helped numerous PACE participants, it is important that we listen to the voices of the PACE participants who have been helped by these programs that helped them--to start a business, to get the job training they need to secure good paying jobs, to provide early childhood education and to help refugees gain the skills they need to begin a new life in America. I encourage all my colleagues to read the compelling stories of these individuals who have become productive, economically self-sufficient Americans because of the existence of these Federal programs.


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