Largest Asian American Festival to be Held May 10, 2014 in San Diego: Twenty Thousand to Celebrate Asian American Rise in Power, Influence, Income, and Education

San Diego, CA - The National Asian American Coalition is sponsoring, with strong support from the City of San Diego, what is likely to be the largest California Asian American festival in 2014. Twenty thousand Asian Americans from throughout Southern California will be participating.

The festival will take place on May 10th in San Diego on Convoy Street (between Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Raytheon Road.)

The festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. This act was the first time in American history that Asian Americans were welcomed to America, rather than being penalized.

The CEO of the National Asian American Coalition, Faith Bautista, issued the following statement. In summary, it thanks our nation’s Black community and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act. As a result, Asian Americans now have an annual gross domestic product of over one trillion dollars and have the highest rates of graduation from college of any group in America.

Faith Bautista’s statement also notes that the Asian American community still has a long way to go. California, for example, has never elected an Asian American Governor or a US Senator. And, no US President has appointed an Asian American to the US Supreme Court.

Faith Bautista the CEO for the National Asian American Coalition stated:

“This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act. As a result of this 1965 Act, Asian Americans were welcomed to America. Before the 1965 Act, Asian Americans were discriminated against in employment, in housing and in social services.

Loyal Japanese American citizens, for example, were unlawfully imprisoned in the equivalent of concentration camps and deprived of their property.

And in California alone, eight different laws were passed, over almost a hundred years, specifically discriminating against Chinese Americans and other Asians Americans.

And until the Immigration and Naturalization Act in 1965, almost all the Filipinos in the US were men because the US did not welcome or want Filipino American families. For the most part, Filipino Americans were poorly paid farm workers who helped Cesar Chavez lead strikes against the big farmers who paid them 60 cents an hour.

Today, we rejoice and celebrate that Asian Americans are 20 million strong.

Today, we rejoice and celebrate that the Asian American gross domestic product is well over one trillion dollars. I emphasize, more than one trillion dollars a year just for Asian Americans.

And today, we celebrate and rejoice that there are a far higher percentage of Asian Americans than whites who have graduated from college, or have Masters degrees.

But in celebrating our many recent successes, we owe a very special debt to the Black community. It was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by great Black leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who made it possible for the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 to pass. And, our access to colleges and universities and good-paying jobs are due to many heroic Black struggles and sacrifices on behalf of all Americans.

Our general counsel, for example, told us that in 1960 when he graduated from Yale Law School, Yale allowed no Asian Americans in his class. And at that time, Ivy League schools in general, and even our own UC system, had very few Asian Americans. Today, however, 36% of all UC undergraduate students are Asian American.

And today, even though we are less than 7% of the US population, we have achieved many successes in corporate America and in government. (There are nine Asian American CEOs at Fortune 500 corporations.)

We, of course, owe a very special thank you to an honorary Asian American, a former US president. His name was Lyndon Johnson, who was president in 1965 and made all this possible.

One day soon, I hope we will have an actual Asian American president. Further, one day soon, we will have our first Asian American US Supreme Court Justice, our first California Asian American Governor, and our first California Asian American Senator in California.

All this is very possible. Consider for example, that three of the seven California’s Supreme Court Justices are Asian American. Our Chief Justice is a brilliant Filipina, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye.”