4b. Proclamation

AANHPI Proclamation

Agenda Item: 4b 
Meeting Date: May 23, 2023 
WHEREAS, Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI), Heritage Month
is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the innumerable contributions of Asian Americans, Native
Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in furtherance of our civil society; and 
WHEREAS, the celebration of AANHPI heritage month started as an idea of Jeanie Jew, a
fourth generation Chinese American, and an aid to U.S. Representative Frank Horton; and 
WHEREAS, in 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution, introduced by U.S.
Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta in the House and a companion bill
introduced by U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga in the Senate, designating the
first ten days in May as an annual celebration of “Asian Pacific Heritage Week”; and 
WHEREAS, in 1992 President George H.W. Bush signed a bill designating the month of
May as “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month”, honoring two significant events in American
history: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the
completion of the first transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, where more than 20,000 Chinese
workers contributed; and 
WHEREAS, in 2000, the Washington State Legislature followed suit by declaring the month
of May as “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month” while Governor Gary Locke, our first
Governor of Asian descent, was in office; then in 2022 Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed the month
of May to be “Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month” following the
language of the Presidential Proclamation; and 
WHEREAS, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have lived and
worked in Washington State since before its founding and have played a part in the rich cultural
heritage of this state; and
WHEREAS, the population of Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders is the second
largest and fastest-growing demographic group in Washington State at over 949,000 and in 
King County at approximately 465,000; and
WHEREAS, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are diverse with
very distinct cultures and histories, representative of 48 Asian and Pacific Island nations. AANHPI
Heritage Month is a time to elevate and celebrate the many lived experiences of these communities;

                WHEREAS, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders activism and
collaboration  for  social  justice,  civil  rights,  and  economic  opportunities  were  born  from
discrimination such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and mass incarceration of Japanese Americans
during WWII and oppression of Filipino cannery workers; and 
WHEREAS, during the Civil Rights era, locally we witnessed the emergence of AANHPI
allyship  for  access,  representation,  and  opportunities.  In  the  early  1960s,  Seattle  City
Councilmember Wing Luke and Human Rights Commission Chairman Phil Hayasaka worked for
access to housing for Asian Americans in Seattle. In the winter of 1971, the Oriental Student Union
led by Alan Sugiyama and Black Panther member Mike Tagawa held a sit-in protest at Seattle
Central Community College to demand hiring of Asian administrators. When the Kingdome
stadium development plans were announced in 1972, Bob Santos led a protest because of its
proximity and perceived negative impacts to the Chinatown-International District, and secured
mitigation funds for the betterment of the community in 1975; and
WHEREAS, four local activists Bob Santos, Roberto Maestas, Bernie Whitebear, and 
Larry Gossett, better known as the ‘Gang of Four’ worked to unify their respective communities
in solidarity and together achieved political and policy wins and secured resources for the
prosperity of communities of color in Seattle. The legacy of the Gang of Four continues to inspire,
and the work and the impact of the women who worked side-by-side with them still continues to
advocate for opportunities, resources for their respective communities, and advancing future
leaders through mentorship and opportunities; and 
WHEREAS, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are represented at
every level of staffing and leadership at the Port of Seattle. The Employee Resource Group, Home
for Asian Pacific Islanders (HAPI) was revived by Faye Sripranaratanakul with the help of 
Peter Cho in 2017 to be a voice for and to educate, promote, and celebrate AANHPI heritages at
the Port; and 
WHEREAS, as the ‘Gateway to Asia and the Pacific,’ the Port of Seattle celebrates its top
nine international trading partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand,
Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia, via the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a partnership between
the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma; and 
WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle celebrates the achievements of our Port of Seattle
Commissioners, President Sam Cho, first Asian American, first Korean American, and 
Vice President Toshiko Grace Hasegawa, first Asian American woman, first Japanese American
woman, to serve in leadership in our 111-year history.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Port of Seattle Commission hereby commemorates May 2023 as
Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month; encourages the continued
support of our Port of Seattle HAPI ERG; commits to building an inclusive and unifying
environment for all; and acknowledges the importance of advancing leaders through opportunities.

                      Proclaimed by the Port of Seattle Commission this 23rd day of May, 2023.

Port of Seattle Commission 

Port of Seattle Commission


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