THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 5, 1997
ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 1997
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Today, almost 10 million Americans can trace their roots to Asia and the Pacific Islands. This month provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize and celebrate all the ways in which Asian and Pacific Americans have enhanced our Nation and strengthened our communities.
North America was visited regularly by Asian and Pacific traders as early as the 16th century, and by the late 1800s, this continent was receiving large numbers of immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the Indian subcontinent. These settlers worked hard, turning wilderness into bountiful farmland in Hawaii, opening new industries in the West, and helping to build the first transcontinental railroad.
Along with a vast array of skills, Americans of Asian and Pacific Island ancestry brought their remarkable traditions of hard work and respect for family and education to their new country. Their belief in the American Dream of equality and opportunity enabled them to face the challenges of adversity and discrimination and achieve a record of distinguished service in all fields, from academia to government, from business to the military, and medicine to the arts. These people and their children managed to preserve the rich legacy of their homelands while also embracing the best values and traditions that define our Nation.
In recent years, newly arrived groups of Asian and Pacific peoples have continued to enrich our proud tradition of cultural diversity and endow our Nation with energy and vision. Today, as we prepare to enter the 21st century, we must continually strive to fulfill the ideals that originally attracted so many immigrants to our shores.
To honor the accomplishments of Asian and Pacific Americans and to recognize their many contributions to our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 102-450, has designated the month of May as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1997 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this occasion with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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