EDVA Commemorates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
ALEXANDRIA, VA (STL.News) In the month of May, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) honors the rich traditions, history, and cultures that are recognized during Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have enriched our Office, our communities, and our Nation with their enduring leadership, vibrant cultures, and extensive contributions to all aspects of our society,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the first Indian American and person of color to serve as EDVA’s chief federal law enforcement official. “While showing steadfast resilience in the face of great hardship, they have helped shape our country’s history for the better, including protecting the Nation during times of war, serving the American people at all levels of government, and spearheading innovations in the law, science, education, commerce, and the arts, among many other fields. As a proud member of the AAPI community, I am honored to continue EDVA’s commitment to celebrating the rich heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and furthering our collective efforts to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do.”
The Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage encompasses a diverse group of nations and cultures from the entire Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, which includes Native Hawaiians. At present, there are over 20 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, and more than 300,000 living veterans from the AAPI community.
The national theme for this year’s observance is “Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service.” The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the May 10, 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad, which was built primarily by Chinese immigrant workers.
This year’s AAPI commemoration comes at a time of heightened fear and pain for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country. “Hate crimes and discrimination against anyone, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, are reprehensible acts that are contrary to the ideals of our Nation and have no place in our society,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Parekh in a recent statement condemning acts of violence against Asian Americans. “I reaffirm our Office’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that those who perpetrate federal crimes fueled by hate are held accountable, and EDVA stands united with our law enforcement partners in combating these injustices.”
During the 2021 AAPI Heritage Month celebration, EDVA will host office-wide virtual events, including a virtual fireside chat with Vanita Gupta, a lifelong civil rights lawyer who recently became the first woman of color to serve as the Associate Attorney General of the United States, and discussions involving the prosecution of hate crimes in partnership with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Recently, EDVA hosted virtual events with Aloke Chakravarty, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the Boston Marathon bombings case, and Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the first South Asian American federal appellate court judge in the United States.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.