Oklahoma Lawmakers announced the creation of the Legislative Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus on Wednesday morning and recognized May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The inaugural members of the caucus, Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton, Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC, and Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City (Photo Above: Right to Left), spoke about the hardships that face AAPI citizens and the contributions this community has made to Oklahoma.
“As the son of Korean immigrants, my parents taught me the values of empathy, compassion, and perseverance. They are a fantastic example of the American Dream,” Pae said. “At around the midpoint of this century, we’re going to be a majority-minority country. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic. We can either deny or accept this reality. With this caucus, we hope to highlight policy issues relevant to the AAPI community and advocate on their behalf.”
May is nationally recognized as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the new caucus hopes to codify May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Oklahoma.
“I am the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Legislature,” Munson said. “One of the focuses of the caucus is to ensure our stories as Asian Americans are recognized and heard by other leaders across the state.”
The caucus is different than other Capitol caucuses as advocates and community members are encouraged to join.
“I work very closely with stakeholders in the Uptown and Asian Districts to support the intentional development of our shared spaces,” said Chelsea Banks, a community designer. “My hope is that identifying as Asian American and participating in moments like this can show future generations of humans just like me that there are others just like them.”