Solis Hosts Reception in Honor of AAPI Heritage Month
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis today hosted a reception honoring eighteen individuals and organizations for their contributions to uplifting AAPI communities.
Since 1992, the United States has observed AAPI Heritage Month in May. About 16.6 million AAPIs live in the United States, accounting for almost 6% of the total population in the country. By 2050, it is projected that almost 10% of the United States population will be made up of AAPIs.
At almost 1.5 million, LA County has by far, compared to any other county in the nation, the largest AAPI population. AAPI residents are represented in many ethnic enclaves that call LA County home such as Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Historic Filipinotown, Cambodia Town, Thai Town, and Koreatown. In addition, cities across the San Gabriel Valley and the South Bay, as well as the unincorporated areas of Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights, have a large proportion of AAPI residents.
AAPIs represent over 30 countries and speak over 100 different languages in LA County alone. They have been part of the fabric of LA County for as long as the jurisdiction has existed. However, AAPIs have been seen as a scapegoat for the COVID-19 pandemic and targeted with violence – a 76% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in LA County since 2020.
“The anti-Asian hate and racism we have seen these past few years is very real,” said Supervisor Solis. “However, I have also seen just how committed AAPI communities have been in standing united. The honorees I chose to recognize today have one collective north star: elevating and strengthening the voices of AAPIs. I thank them for their commitment to empowering AAPIs to create a more just county and country for all.”
“It’s an honor to be recognized by Supervisor Solis during AAPI month. As the first AAPI Director of L.A. County Department of Mental Health, I recognize new opportunities for the AAPI community to take a look at what our heritage means to us – what parts we want to embrace and carry forward, and what parts we can acknowledge, but leave behind,” said Dr. Lisa H. Wong, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. “What I see is an opportunity to bring together the best of our AAPI heritage and combine it with lessons learned and new values, building a bridge between old and new, partnering with other cultures and peoples to strengthen the social fabric of our communities and our county. By celebrating our heritage and embracing it in a new way, we are able to weave together a tapestry of connectedness, resilience, and wellbeing that is enriched by what we all can bring to the table.”
The following were recognized during today’s event: Aquilina Soriano Versoza, Executive Director, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California; Charlie Woo; Founder and Chair, CAUSE (Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment); Connie Chung Joe, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice SoCal; Eddie Yen, President, LA County Asian American Employees Association; Esther Young Lim, Creator, Hate Crime Books; Frances Teves, Interim Vice President for University Advancement, Cal Poly Pomona; Kerry Doi, Founder, President and CEO, PACE (Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment); Mika Yamamoto, Regional Operations Manager, LA County Department of Parks and Recreation; Robin Toma, Director, Human Relations Commission; Sissy Trinh, Founder and Executive Director, Southeast Asian Community Alliance; Dr. Stanley Toy, CEO, Greater El Monte Community Hospital; Teresa Padua, Executive Director, Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic; Vince Wong, Director of Collective Impact, Michelson Found Animals Foundation; Lisa Wong, Director, LA County Department of Mental Health.
Today’s event was hosted in partnership with the Los Angeles County Asian American Employees Association, the Vietnamese Employee Association of Los Angeles County, the Asian Pacific Probation Association, the Korean American Employees of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Filipino American Employees Association, and East West Bank.