The APAICS Annual Awards Gala Dinner is the culmination of our nation’s recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, a celebration of the culture, traditions, history, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. We expect more than 1,000 attendees from across the country, including community, business, and political leaders.
The gala is the largest gathering of Asian American and Pacific Islander elected officials and government appointees at the federal, state, and local levels. Past speakers and awardees at the dinner include President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Senator Mazie Hirono, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Martha Choe, Deepa Iyer, George Takei, Daniel Dae Kim, and Randall Park, among others.
Ticket Levels and Prices
|Community / Non-Profit / Military||$350|
|Community Early Bird (available until March 14, 2019)||$300|
Gala Program Book Ads
Are you interested in purchasing an ad in the program book that will be distributed to all attendees at the gala? If so, please click below.
|Community / Non-Profit||$1,500|
2019 Speakers & Awardees
New speakers and awardees will be announced regularly over the next few months.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.
Duckworth attended college at the University of Hawaii and earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University. Following graduation, Duckworth, who is fluent in Thai and Indonesian, moved to Illinois and began pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at Northern Illinois University. She also worked at NIU’s School of Nursing researching public health and environmental causes of cancer. Later, Duckworth worked for Rotary International as a manager for administration of Rotary clubs in the Asia Pacific Region.
In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG and Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm.
Senator Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she quickly became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers and testified before Congress about caring for our Veterans and wounded warriors. Following her recovery, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, working to create a tax credit for employers who hired Veterans, establish a first-in-the-nation 24/7 Veterans crisis hotline and develop innovative programs to improve Veterans’ access to housing and health care.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth to be Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. At VA, Duckworth coordinated the joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to end Veteran homelessness. She also created the Office of Online Communications to improve the VA’s accessibility, especially among young Veterans, and also worked to address the unique challenges that Native American and female Veterans face.
Since her recovery, Duckworth has resumed flying as a civilian pilot and fulfilled a promise she made at Walter Reed by completing several marathons. In her spare time, she volunteers at local food pantries and enjoys couponing and flea markets. In 2015, Duckworth completed her Ph.D. in Human Services at Capella University.
In the U.S. House, Duckworth was an advocate for working families and job creation, introducing bills like her bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers Act to ensure new mothers have access to safe, clean and accessible lactation rooms when traveling through airports, which passed the Senate. She introduced the In the Red Act to help put our nation on the path toward debt-free college, the Get the Lead Out Act to keep America’s drinking water safe and bipartisan legislation to help close the skills gap while helping people find good-paying jobs. Duckworth also co-sponsored the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would ensure members of Congress only get paid if they pass a budget.
She also served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where she was Ranking Member of the Transportation and Public Assets subcommittee. She introduced and helped pass several important policies through her work on these committees, including the Clay Hunt SAV Act to help reduce Veteran suicide and improve VA mental health services and the Troop Talent Act which helps returning Veterans find jobs in the private sector. She also effectively cut waste and fraud at the Pentagon and throughout government, including passing a common-sense provision to reduce redundancy in Armed Forces uniforms that the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office found will save taxpayers more than $4 billion over 5 years.
In the U.S. Senate, Duckworth serves on several influential committees that give her an important platform to advocate for Illinois’s working families and entrepreneurs: the Senate Armed Services Committee; the Environment & Public Works Committee; the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee; and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. As Senator, she advocates for practical, common-sense solutions needed to move our country and our state forward like: rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, keeping our water systems safe and lead-free, growing manufacturing jobs while supporting minority-owned small businesses, investing in communities that have been ignored for too long, and making college more affordable for all Americans. And Duckworth continues with her lifelong mission of supporting, protecting and keeping the promises we’ve made to our Veterans as well as ensuring that we stand fully behind the troops we send into danger overseas.
Senator Duckworth and her husband Bryan are the proud parents of two daughters, Abigail and Maile.
Karen Korematsu is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu. In 2009, on the 25th anniversary of the reversal of Fred’s WWII U.S. Supreme Court conviction, Karen established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. This year marks the 100th birthday of Fred T. Korematsu and the 75th anniversary of Korematsu v. United States.
Fred T. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity. In 1983, documents were discovered that the government engaged in misconduct when they hid evidence from the Supreme Court that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify mass incarceration. Fred’s case was reopened and in a pivotal moment in civil rights history, his conviction was overturned. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton in 1998, and remained a tireless advocate for civil liberties and justice throughout his life.
Since her father’s passing in 2005, Karen has carried on Fred’s legacy as a civil rights advocate, public speaker and public educator to ensure that history is not repeated. She shares her passion for social justice and education at K-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities, law schools, teachers’ conferences and organizations across the country.
Please contact Helen Ruggiero