Presidio celebrates diversity during Asian-Pacific American event
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Seaman Arden Delacruz speaks to a crowd during the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Observance at the Tin Barn May 23.

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Military, civilians and family members came together to celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month at the Tin Barn May 23.

Highlighting this year's theme of "Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion," native Filipino Seaman Arden Delacruz, Center for Information Dominance Unit, spoke about human capital and Asian and Pacific Americans service to the U.S. Armed Forces.

He said that, since time immemorial, human capital has been one of the greatest and most potent of resources.

"There are many roots of strength in the world, it comes even from the margins, from the far reaches of convention, from places where one might least expect them to," he said, adding that "it is part of collective national dreaming that we endeavor to become more open, that we seek to enrich our reason for being with a myriad of ideals."

Additionally, he said that "year after year, we gather here to assess who we are and what we could become."

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month traces back to 1977 when the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a resolution and a bill to observe the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The recognition was extended to the full month of May in 1990.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States in May 7, 1843, and to mark the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Those important contributions continue.

Recognizing current significant roles of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, Lt. Cmdr. Thor Martinsen Center for Information Dominance Unit commander, spoke about the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center's spectrum of diverse cultures needed for students to accomplish their goals in learning their target languages.

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month honors people whose ancestry originates from a long list of countries including the entire Asian continent, the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

The "Asian-Pacific American" designation encompasses more than 50 ethnic or language groups including native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. There are now more Asian and Pacific Islander groups than in the past--with 28 Asian and 19 Pacific Island subgroups representing a vast array of languages and cultures. These groups include Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Asian Indian Americans, Laotian Americans, Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Thai Americans, Pakistani, Samoan, Guamanian and many other language groups.

"Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicated their race or races as "Native Hawaiian," "Guamanian or Chamorro," "Samoan" or "Other Pacific Islander," or wrote in entries such as Tahitian, Mariana Islander, or Chuukese on surveys.

Many Asians and Pacific Islanders have ancestry in a number of different cultures.

According to the Library of Congress, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society and culture.

Page last updated Mon June 4th, 2012 at 15:45