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Several members of Congress attended the APAICS gala in May, including, from left, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Reps. Mark Takano, Al Green Grace Meng, Judy Chu, Stephanie Murphy and Bobby Scott.

In Recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the organization honors those who ‘continue to politically empower the AAPI community.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies held its 23rd annual Gala Awards Dinner on May 16 during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The event, which was attended by more than 800 guests, was held at the Washington Hilton Hotel in the nation’s capital.

The annual event honors Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders, both current and pioneers, as well as “recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that continue to politically empower the AAPI community.”

Elaine Quijano, an anchor for CBSN and correspondent for CBS News in New York City, served as the gala’s mistress of ceremonies. Greetings and remarks were also extended by Floyd Mori, president and CEO of APAICS; Susan Jin Davis, APAICS board chair; and Tariq Khan, APAICS Gala Committee chair.

In addition, Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, spoke during the ceremony, and the Hon. Norman Mineta, one of the founders of APAICS and CAPAC, was in attendance and participated in the program as well.

The keynote speaker was Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Several other members of Congress were also in attendance, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representatives Al Green (TX), Grace Meng (NY), Stephanie Murphy (FL), Bobby Scott (VA) and Mark Takano (CA).

Tribute was paid to two CAPAC members who passed away since the last gala, the Hon. Eni Faleomavaega and the Hon. Mark Takai.

The evening also honored former APAICS Congressional fellows Nisha Ramachandran and Jason Tengco. This year’s APAICS Congressional Fellows are Adi Sathi, Anna Byon, Howard Ou, Saif Inam and Tejeswara Reddy.

Awards and recognition were also given to Verizon, recipient of the Corporate Achievement Award. The Community Leader Award was given to Chanchanit Martorell, executive director of the Thai Community Development Center, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles. Martorell was recognized for her advocacy work in human rights causes. And Randall Park, a popular actor born and raised in Los Angeles, was presented with the Vision Award. Park currently stars in the ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat.”