Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022 with the Inaugural Issue of "Our Story" Series
After two and a half years, we are still combatting the lingering presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems sudden that the annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Heritage Month is upon us once again. This year's AAPI Heritage Month may be a bit different from the ones past, in that it could be especially significant to the Asian American community. In recent years, incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans, especially Chinese Americans, have risen sharply. During the pandemic, misinformation about and hatred toward Asian Americans have exponentially increased, with Asians Americans being all the more regarded as “foreigners." As Chinese Americans in the United States, we are acutely aware of our history in this country colored by the Chinese Exclusion Act, and want to avoid any repeat of similar events.
Therefore, as we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, the CAF Foundation has thoughtfully collaborated with the Chinese American Federation to launch the inaugural series of "Our Story"focusing on strengthening the Asian American identity by sharing our stories about anti-discrimination, Asian American history, Chinese culture, and youth volunteers — published on the CAF Foundation website, www.cafoundations.org. Through storytelling, we want to share about the contribution of Asian Americans to various fields through our persistent spirit; to advocate for the embracing of diverse cultures in our society so as to achieve mutual learning between Asian American and the other communities of our country; and to encourage Asian American groups to actively participate in social and public issues such as aiding disadvantaged groups, uniting to support each other’s groups, and opposing discrimination.
Thank you very much for your support!
Our appreciation to the organizations and individuals who participated in and supported this first issue!
In our first issue of "Our Story" we feature several distinguished guests: Dr. Jianhai Lin, the former Secretary of the International Monetary Fund; Professor Min Zhou, an esteemed sociologist who has devoted decades to studying the humanities and economics of Asian immigrant groups and who is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Judge Edwin Chau, former California Assemblyman who helped pass the law to include into textbooks the history of the Chinese Transcontinental Railroad workers and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and who now serves as a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court; Mr. Ted Lieu, California Congressman who spearheaded a 150-member Congressional bipartisan letter in 2020 urging the United States Department of Justice to condemn anti-Asian hate, as well as who took the lead in fearlessly speaking to Congress for a wrongly-targeted Chinese American scientist; Ms. Fiona Ma, the current California State Treasurer who is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position; Mr. John Chiang, the former California State Treasurer; Mr. Kin Hui, an accomplished entrepreneur who has expertly integrated enterprise and Asian culture; and Chairman Jimmy Wang, a successful family business owner who is also the epitome of community service and cultural engagement.
From their stories, we can understand deeply that the United States is a society of immigrants. Various ethnic groups and individuals who arrived and brought their own cultural backgrounds have worked tirelessly to integrate into and support community-building, and exerted unparalleled creation and contribution to society. Not only have immigrants built a solid foundation for themselves with remarkable achievements in different fields, they have also become crucial citizens of our society making great contributions to social development; jointly writing the history of the United States and of Asian American history. These stories will hopefully inspire the younger generation to surpass the teachers who blazed the trail before them.
Our series "Our Story" is our way of celebrating AAPI Heritage Month. We sincerely invite you to share your story, experiences, and contributions with us as well. Just as importantly, we wholeheartedly hope that like-minded friends will support the goals of the Chinese American Foundation, so as to multiply cultural and spiritual wealth for our community and the next generation.
In closing, we extend our deepest gratitude to the organizations and individuals who participated in and supported this first issue! Please see Acknowledgments for details.
Sher Li, Chairwoman of Chinese American Foundation
Simon Shao, President of Chinese American Federation
May 19, 2022