Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in Honor of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
May 28, 2010




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

This month we celebrate the enormous contributions made by generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that have enriched every sector of American life. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a vast and diverse community, tracing their heritage to more than 30 countries and speaking over 100 languages. Today, members of this community proudly serve our nation as diplomats and soldiers, as leaders in business and law, and as pioneers in medicine and academia. Their presence strengthens the fabric of American society.

Despite these successes, many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face serious obstacles, such as discrimination, unemployment, poverty, and disparities in public health, homeownership, and education. Some experience linguistic and cultural isolation or limited access to government resources. At the same time, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing community in the United States, making up one-third of new immigrants to the United States each year.

To improve quality of life and expand opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Obama Administration re-established in October 2009 the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Both efforts aim to recognize, address, and overcome the challenges that affect this vibrant community, with particular focus on increasing access to and participation in federal programs for education, commerce, health, environment, transportation and the arts.

This May, on the occasion of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, we pay tribute to the extraordinary achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and commit to redouble our best efforts to help them fulfill the promise of the American dream.     

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PRN: 2010/108