Hillary Clinton’s Statement on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 1, 2008

“It is with great enthusiasm that we celebrate May as Asian Pacific Heritage month – Lighting the Past, Present and Future. Since the late 1700s, Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have come from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands with the hopes and dreams of building a better life for themselves and their families. AAPI have played an important role in building our nation and I am pleased to celebrate the leadership, diversity, and harmony of this community and extend my gratitude to AAPIs for their sacrifices and contributions to enriching the lives of all Americans.”

“This year, Americans of all backgrounds, including AAPIs, have become engaged in the political process in record numbers. Through my travels around the country, I have had the fortunate opportunity to meet with AAPIs around the country from Iowa to Texas to California, Nevada and Pennsylvania. I have been honored and grateful to have the support of the AAPI community, especially many elected officials, business, and community leaders.”

“While AAPIs have achieved much for their families and the communities in which they live, I recognize there are still many issues confronting this community. That is why I have worked so closely with the AAPI community to promote policies that address the community’s needs. Just last week, I was proud to be on the Senate floor to cast a vote for legislation that would restore veterans’ benefits to the brave Filipino veterans who were called into service and fought under the United States flag during World War II. ”

“It is also important to acknowledge and honor the fact that, like the fabric that makes up America, the AAPI community is not monolithic – not only is it the fastest-growing community in the country, it is one of our most diverse. Like many Americans, many in the AAPI community face tremendous challenges due to a lack of access to quality, affordable health care. That is why I have proposed a truly universal health care plan that is based on the principles of shared responsibility and choice and address the issues of health disparities, cultural competency, and language barriers. Under my health care proposal small businesses would receive a tax credit for providing health care to their employees. This is important to the AAPI community that has one of the highest numbers of small business owners.”

“The state of the economy is important to all Americans, including the AAPI community, and we need to do more to help middle class families struggling to pay for everything from increased gas prices to college costs. That is why I have proposed tax cuts that would save families thousands of dollars who are struggling to pay for health care, college costs, or the care for an elderly parent or disabled child. It would also help families who are saving for a secure retirement. The cuts would provide middle class families with at least $100 billion in tax relief per year. I also have a plan that would create millions of new, good-paying green collar jobs that would not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil but strengthen our economy.”

“But we can only make our economy stronger with an educated workforce. While many AAPIs have succeeded in attaining higher education, I am fully aware that others in the AAPI community continue to struggle to reach these same achievements. For that reason I will continue to strongly advocate for making college affordable and accessible and propose universal pre-school education for all our nation’s children.”

“During APA Heritage month we are reminded that we must fix our broken immigration system that is separating AAPI families. Last year, during the debate on comprehensive immigration reform, I offered an amendment to address the backlog of family visas. I will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that brings families together.”

“I recognize that many Americans including AAPIs continue to face discrimination in society and at the work place. Throughout my career, I have hired staff members who reflect America’s diversity, including AAPIs. I am proud that over 20 percent of my campaign staff is AAPI. As President, I will ensure that AAPIs have a strong voice and role in my administration.”

“Finally, I will strive to restore America’s standing in the world, and part of that is standing up for human rights and combating human trafficking.”

“While we celebrate the contributions and the achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this May, let us remember those among us who continue to struggle and commit to address the challenges facing the AAPI community and all Americans.”

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