OBAMA HAILS PACIFIC ISLANDERS’ CONTRIBUTIONS TO U.S.

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May declared Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, May 4, 2009) – In recognition of Pacific Islanders’ contribution to the Land of the Free, United States of America President Barack Obama proclaimed May as a heritage month.

Mr. Obama proclaimed May 2009 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month.

After signing the proclamation he urged Americans the world over to reflect on the contribution of Pacific Islanders and Asians to achieving the American dream.

"During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we remember the challenges and celebrate the achievements that define our history," Obama said in a statement on May 1

"Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have endured and overcome hardship and heartache.

"In the earliest years, tens of thousands of Gold Rush pioneers, coal miners, transcontinental railroad builders, farm and orchard labourers, were subject to unjust working conditions, prejudice, and discrimination--yet they excelled.

"Even in the darkness of the Exclusion Act and Japanese internment, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders persevered, providing for their families and creating opportunities for their children," he added.

He called on every US citizen to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to observe this month with appropriate programmes and activities.

"Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played a vital role in our nation’s economic and technological growth by establishing successful enterprises and pushing the limits of science," Mr Obama said.

"They are serving in positions of leadership within the government more now than ever before.

"And along with all of our great service men and women, they have defended the United States from threats at home and abroad, serving our Nation with valour.

"From the beaches of the Pacific islands and the California coast, the grasslands of Central Asia and the bluegrass of Kentucky and from the summits of the Himalayas and the Rocky Mountains, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community hail from near and far".

"This is the story of our more perfect union: that it is diversity itself that enriches, and is fundamental to, the American story," the US president concluded.

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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