Oregon is proud to be home to about 212,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, representing 5.5 percent of our population.
Oregon’s Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage is part of our state’s story, and we are enriched by the diverse cultural contributions from areas like the Pacific Islands, the Far East, and beyond.
Indeed, our state has benefitted from Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions for well over a century, but many of these contributions occurred against a backdrop of struggle. Chinese workers who built our railroads were excluded from citizenship by law; Japanese-Oregonians who fought in World War II left their families in internment camps.
That’s why this month is so important: it helps us recognize the deep and broad historical contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders to our country despite some truly challenging circumstances. Just as importantly, it gives us the chance to recognize the meaningful differences Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are making in Oregon today. One example of this is the increased civic engagement we are seeing from this community during this year’s legislative session.
So thank you for coming and for helping celebrate this proclamation and the people it honors.