As part of her annual Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic awarded community leaders for their contributions on May 31.
Rozic’s Asian American Heritage Celebration aims to amplify the values and contributions of Asian Americans to efforts in civic engagement, community partnerships and social justice in Queens. This year’s honorees include John Park, executive director of MinKwon Center for Community Action; Clara Kang, principal of P.S. 376; Karen Lin, School Leadership Team co-chair at Townsend Harris High School; and Joby Jacob, co-founder of Motor Parkway East.
“Queens is enriched by those who have dedicated themselves to the tireless work of advocacy and engagement and I am proud to recognize this year’s honorees for their leadership in our community,” said Rozic. “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month serves not only as a reminder of the strength in our diversity, but the collective commitment to empowering others as we work towards leaving our community greater than we found it.”
In 1992, the federal government designated the month of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in commemoration of the long history and continued contributions of the AAPI community. The month of May was chosen in honor of the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States and the Chinese immigrants who made up the majority of the workers on the transcontinental railroad which was completed on May 10, 1869.
This year’s honorees thanked Rozic for recognizing their contributions in the community for AAPI Heritage Month.
“The recognition, of course, goes to the entire MinKwon team, our community members, and our partners making a direct impact in people’s lives. This month also marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad,” said Park. “The Chinese immigrant laborers, who helped build the infrastructure of this country, were denied a path to citizenship and their contributions were all but lost to history. Today, ours and many other communities continue to face similar challenges. AAPI Heritage Month celebrates how far we have come, but also reminds us there is much more work yet to be done.”
Kang of P.S. 376 said she is grateful to have the opportunity as a school leader to give back to her community and to the New York City public school system, which she credited to shaping her into the person she is today.
“My work every day is in service of our students and I am thankful for having a supportive and inclusive school community, which is in pursuit of equity, compassion, aspiring to lead, relationships matter and academic excellence,” Kang said.
A proud son of immigrants from India, Jacob became active in his community to make walking, running and biking safer for local residents.
“I thank Assembly member Rozic for her continuing service to the Asian American community and the whole of Queens and am very happy to be recognized by her,” said Jacob.
Past honorees of Rozic include representatives from organizations such as Asian Americans for Equality, The Hindu Temple Society of North America, Korean American Family Service Center and the South Asian Council for Social Services.