Jokingly coined, “The Asian Prom”, the 23rd annual APAICS (Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies) Gala Awards was held on the evening of Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the elegant Washington Hilton. Guests arrived, dined, socialized, and enjoyed an array of award presentations. Until the 1990′s, the Asian Pacific Islander community lacked a caucus. In the last four years there has been a significant increase in representation and seats in congress. There are currently 50 representatives and Senators. The robust membership is rapidly expanding. Immigration reform and human trafficking are just a couple of societal focal points. Chanchanit Martorell won the Community Leader Award for her diligent work on over a half-dozen major human rights cases involving human trafficking. The keynote speaker, Senator Cory Booker, left us with a powerful quote from his father:
“Son, you can go through life as a thermometer, or as a thermostat.”
This quote implies that one can either simply measure the temperature of the atmosphere, or one can use the power to set the temperature of the atmosphere. The latter is the choice of an individual of power, influence, and change.
A special thanks to Google for allowing me to have a seat at their table during this event. It was so wonderful to see such a robust and diverse group of people convene with great purpose!