SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

“In May of each year, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and the remarkable contributions of the AAPI community to our nation. As a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am proud to represent one of the largest Filipino and Chinese communities in the Bay Area. In fact, my district is home to the largest Filipino-American community of any district in the continental United States, and fighting in Congress to solve the unique challenges the AAPI community faces is very important to me.

“As we celebrate AAPI heritage month, we have a vivid reminder in my district of what happens when fear and ignorance overtakes our good common sense. Just last week we remembered the 70th anniversary of Tanforan Race Track becoming Tanforan Relocation Center where roughly 8,000 Japanese Americans were held before they were moved to internment camps. Today, a Japanese garden on the Tanforan property honors the memory of those who were interned, including the 65 babies who were born in the stables.

“Preserving the history of our community at the new Archives at San Bruno was the impetus for my recent efforts to properly save and protect the A-Files of Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II. Now, anyone can have access to this treasure trove of history, including: photographs, birth certificates, visas, records of employment, family-related documents, transcripts of testimony, personal artifacts, and other important biographical and historical information. 

“I am also committed to honoring the living heroes of the War era by ensuring that Filipino veterans are fully eligible for benefits similar to those received by all U.S. veterans. My legislation, the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act would ensure that widows and children of Filipino veterans would be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation just like any other veteran.

“I have personally seen the economic, cultural, and political contributions of immigrants from Asia, the Philippines, the Pacific Islands, and generations of their descendants. The heroes of the AAPI community represent the very best aspects of American life and have enhanced the moral fabric of my district, the state of California, and our country.”

On May 22, Congresswoman Speier will host a Town Hall meeting for members of the Pacific Islander Community. More information is available from the District Office.