A Groundbreaking Election for the AAPI Community
Posted in Blogs on November 06, 2012 by Albert Gianatan
(Photo courtesy of 18millionrising.org)
Tuesday, November 6th, marked a historic moment for Asian-Pacific Americans.
The burgeoning civic spirit and the results of the 2012 election reflect the emerging levels of political participation in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community as an integral part of the increasingly diverse realm of American politics.
Not only did 30 Asian-Americans run for national office—an unprecedented number in over two centuries of U.S. history—but the AAPI community also impacted the polls in battleground states like never before and scored victory in a number of firsts.
- Mazie Hirono will be the first AAPI woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
- Ami Bera (CA-07) will be the third Indian-American to be elected to Congress
- Mark Takano (CA-41) will be the first openly gay Asian-American in Congress.
- Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) will be the first AAPI member of Congress from the state of Illinois.
- Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will be the first Samoan to be a voting Member of Congress, and the first Hindu American to be elected to Congress.
- Grace Meng (NY-06) will be the first member of Congress from New York State.
“The election of 2012 is historical,” Floyd Mori, from the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, announced, “in the sense of the number of AAPI candidates and the impact of AAPI voters in swing states.”
And it was not just the statistics that glowed with an aura signifying a bright future. Tuesday night took on profound meaning in the hearts of millions of Asian-Pacific Americans.
"I feel tremendous personal pride to see faces like mine elected to Congress, who deeply understand the experiences of me, my family and millions of others,” says Gloria Chan, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
She continues, "I am also very proud that our nation's Congress is maturing through its diversity. AAPIs are a force to be reckoned with, and our voices will no longer go unheard nor dismissed."
The future looks even brighter.
As the fastest growing immigrant group, according to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center, the Asian-Pacific American community has even more room to grow—on top of the already groundbreaking achievements made in these past few elections. According to Congresswoman Judy Chu in an article for the CAPACD, many leaders in politics have yet to unlock the full potential of the AAPI political voice.
The 2012 General Election holds a special place in the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—and in the growth toward a truly democratic government that represents the vibrant diversity of the people of our nation.