Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2014) — The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) celebrated its twenty year anniversary with the annual Gala Awards Dinner held at the Washington Hilton Hotel on May 6.
The founder of APAICS, the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, was present to take part in the festivities along with his wife, Deni. Secretary Mineta founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for members of Congress in 1994 along with the formation of APAICS, which is dedicated to promoting Asian American and Pacific Islander participation at all levels of the political process including elective office.
The master and mistress of ceremonies for the evening were the husband and wife team of Lisa Ling and Dr. Paul Song. The national anthem was sung by Tara Naoko Ohrtman, who is currently the Daniel K. Inouye Fellow in the Washington, D.C. office of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
Entertainment was provided by Broadway performers, Christine Toy Johnson and Raymond J. Lee. The Armed Forces Color Guard, U.S. Army Military District Washington, presented the colors. Winner of the Toyota Prius donated by Toyota Motor was Rhea Suh.
The keynote speaker for the Gala was Actor George Takei, who greatly impressed the audience as he talked about government and his family’s experience of incarceration during World War II. Remarks were given by Senator Mazie Hirono and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Admiral Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was awarded the APAICS Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented by APAICS board member, Jay Chen. The APAICS Pioneer Award was presented to Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of CAPAC, by the Honorable Norman Mineta. The APAICS Community Leadership Award was given to the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and was presented by Congresswoman Grace Meng. Southwest Airlines was presented the APAICS Corporate Achievement Award by Congressman Mike Honda.
Welcoming greetings were given by Floyd Mori, APAICS President and CEO, and remarks were made by Susan Jin Davis, Board Chair for APAICS. Tarig Khan was chair of the Gala host committee with Kim Delevett as co-chair. Other committee members were: Jay Chen, June Jee, Susan Jin Davis, and Jimmie Williams.
APAICS expresses appreciation to all who participated in and attended the Gala Awards Dinner, especially the sponsors and donors for their generous support, including: Walmart, Comcast, Toyota, MGM Resorts, Herbalife, AARP, AMGEN, NEA, IMIN.org, Nielsen, PG&E, and Southwest Airlines.