Congressman Michael Honda (CA-15) sent a letter to the Postmaster General recommending that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issue more stamps celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). While the USPS does produce some AAPI-themed stamps, they are not issued as frequently as other American heritage stamps. In fact, only 33 Asian American-themed stamps have ever been issued.
“Stamps are like history teachers, educating us on significant, and often omitted, social, cultural and political occurrences in America’s past,” said Rep Michael Honda, Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Many minority communities, left out of the traditional history schoolbook, rightly receive recognition via the US postal stamp. Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are one such group and while there is a precedent for AAPI-themed stamps, few have gone beyond cultural comment only. Lunar New Year, for example, has comprised nearly half of all AAPI-themed stamps to date. Today we are calling for something more socio-politically substantial. Stamps that remember the Japanese-American internment camps, the Chinese laborers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, or the roughly 11 million AAPI veterans who served our country, among many other meritorious memorials, is a necessary next step in mainstreaming a minority group that remains marginalized from the postal service’s primary platform for remembering America’s history.” – US Representative Michael Honda, Chairman, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
There are approximately 16.6 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders currently living in the United States. In addition to being one of the most ethnically-diverse communities, it is also one of the fastest growing; by 2050, the AAPI population is expected to more than double. Just some of the AAPI individuals who could be proudly displayed on a U.S. stamp include:
* Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color elected to Congress and a strong advocate for educational equality for women;
* Judge Herbert Choy, the first Asian American to serve as a U.S. federal judge; and
* Ellison Onizuka, the first Japanese American space astronaut.
Reps. Honda and Sanchez, are joined by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, namely Eni Faleomavaega (AS), Madeleine Bordallo (GU), David Wu (OR-1), Gregorio Sablan (CNMI), Charles Djou (HI-1), Barbara Lee (CA-9), and Bob Filner (CA-51). The text of the letter is available here.