by TRACI G. LEE
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the keynote speech at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ (APAICS) 22nd annual awards dinner at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington May 4, 2016.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama addressed a range of topics including healthcare, education disparities, and immigration at a gala dinner Wednesday note hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS).
The president, who was introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), also praised the Asian American and Pacific Islander community for speaking out against anti-Muslim rhetoric and for supporting the Sikh, Arab, and South Asian communities targeted by discrimination.
“Just as we moved beyond ‘No Irish need apply’ signs, just as we moved beyond questioning the loyalty of Catholics, just as we moved beyond the active persecution of Chinese immigrants, just as we learned that the stain on our history of our treatment of Japanese immigrants and even Japanese Americans in World War II, we are going to move beyond today’s anti-immigrant sentiment as well,” Obama said. “We will live up to our ideals. We just have to keep speaking out against hatred and bigotry in all of its forms.”
Obama also touted his administration’s successes in its work on behalf of the AAPI community, including expanding health care access to some of the 2 million uninsured AAPIs; creating a task force to raise awareness on bullying; supporting the need for data disaggregation in order to understand and address the needs among AAPI groups; appointing “more AAPI judicial appointments than any other president combined”; and encouraged the audience to vote — not solely during presidential years, but during midterms and in local races, including school board elections.