(Washington, DC) - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) honored community leaders by hosting an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month celebration & the Community Service Award Ceremony. The event was held at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. The evening began with a networking reception followed by local cultural performances. Mayor Gray delivered the keynote speech and presented his Community Service Award. OAPIA Director Soohyun “Julie” Koo and Dr. Jae H. Ku, Director of U.S. - Korea Institute at SAIS each gave welcoming remarks with an emphasis on community leadership. NBC 4’s Eun Yang, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
The celebration attracted approximately 300 attendants and successfully marked the end of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“OAPIA has done a great job in ensuring that the needs of the community are always met. They serve as a tremendous resource for hard- to- reach populations and have always been our ally. The awards tonight are testament to the talent and dedication we have in the District and what we can achieve when we work together,” said Mayor Gray.
Mayor Gray, Director Koo, and the Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (CAPIA) Wylie Chen presented the Mayor’s Community Service Award to Hoan Nguyen from the Vietnamese-American Community Service Center, and Sulu DC, a network and monthly showcase of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists in the Washington, DC area.
In addition to the Mayor’s Community Service Award, the Mayor gave out Certificates of Appreciation to Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs Commissioner Martha Watanabe, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, founding artistic director and choreographer of Dana Tai Soon & Co., and Lily Chen, who received the award on behalf of her late father, the founder/ publisher of Asian Fortune, Jay Chen.
“These awards exemplify the true spirit of the District. Through hard work and dedication these individuals and organizations have shown that collaboration and community are not mutually exclusive.” said Soohyun “Julie” Koo, Executive Director of OAPIA.
The evening’s performances were provided by Jenny C. Lares from Sulu DC, Inara Sunset and Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) Fusion Dance Team. The evening concluded with the Mayor participating in a food demonstration of a traditional Korean dish. Food and refreshments for the evening were donated by The Korean Heritage Foundation.