WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 21, 2012) — The National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE) is saddened by the loss of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who passed away on December 17, 2012. Senator Inouye, who broke ground in US politics as the first Japanese American elected to the House, and was subsequently elected to the Senate, has been a role model for Filipino Americans for over half a century.
As one of the elder statesmen in the Senate and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Inouye was one of the most powerful and outspoken advocates for the cause of equity for Filipino World War II veterans equity. He played a critical role in securing military recognition and financial recompense for the first time in the 60+ year struggle of our Filipino WWII veterans.
Since NAFVE was founded in 2007 to push for Filipino WWII veterans equity, Senator Inouye was a key ally and champion in the Senate. NAFVE’s leadership and the organizations that formed the coalition have decades of partnership with the Senator and spoke out in his memory:
• “Senator Inouye’s patient yet insistent leadership achieved our signature victory for our brave Filipino soldiers and ensured their dignity as recognized veterans and financial security in their twilight years. He fought with a dogged determination and a consummate grace and we may never see his like again. I am personally heartbroken over his loss, but am proud to have worked with him to play even the smallest role in an issue that he held close to his heart.” Ben de Guzman- NAFVE National Coordinator
· “One of the many legacies Senator Inouye leaves behind is his single-minded efforts to win recognition and equal benefits for Filipino WWII veterans. We will never forget his commitment to righting the historic wrong brought on by the Recission Act. Filipino WWII veterans and their families will always feel indebted to him for his tireless efforts and already miss his powerful presence. We know he would want us to pick up where he left off. .” Lillian Galedo, NAFVE Co-Chair and Executive Director, Filipino Advocates for Justice
• “Senator Inouye was an anchor for the Filipino Equity Veterans Equity movement for decades. He was a staunch supporter of the entire Filipino American community as a whole, but his brotherhood with our veterans and his generous spirit will never be forgotten.” Jon Melegrito, NAFVE Co-Chair and founding Executive Director, National Federation of Filipino American Associations.
• “Washington, DC can often seem a lonely place for Filipino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Senator Inouye’s leadership and ascent to the highest echelons of our government stood both as a shining beacon to guide our way, but also as a reassurance that we deserved to be at the decision-making table. He helped set that table, and our ongoing fight to stay there and work on behalf of our communities is in his honor.” Irene Bueno, NAFVE Consultant and Principal, Nueva Vista Group
• “Senator Inouye’s stood side by side with his fellow WWII Filipino Veterans march towards Veterans Equity and made sure that no soldier was left behind in the fight for equity, equal justice and dignity. His legacy is his resolve to never turn away from injustices, but to seek, for how ever long it takes, to over turn and fight unequal justice under law.” Vida Benavides, NAFVE Strategist and Principal, Dewey Square Group
• “The senator was a hero who fought for our rights and freedom, bravely in the battlefield and brilliantly and strategically in Washington, DC. His critical role in providing benefits for Filipino veterans is just one of the legacies he leaves behind. Senator Inouye led a lifetime of advocacy for his beloved Hawaii. His leadership, resiliency, selfless commitment to public service and championship of our issues will not be forgotten.” Charmaine Manansala, NAFVE Consultant.