The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) mourns the loss of former U.S. Senator from Hawaii Daniel Akaka, who passed away last Friday at the age of 93.
Senator Akaka made history by becoming the first Native Hawaiian elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, and the first Native Hawaiian Senator in 1990. He is best known for his ‘Akaka Bill’, which demanded federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. While the bill never passed, Senator Akaka set a precedent for generations to come.
Before taking office, Mr. Akaka was a school teacher and principal in Hawaii in the 1950s and 60s, and organized community efforts against poverty in the early 1970s. As a member of Congress and a part of the Appropriations Committee, he fought for the government funding for education and military installations in Hawaii. In 2014, he received the National Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award, for his work as a ground-breaking educator introducing Native Hawaiian language and culture into school curriculum.
“Senator Akaka will be remembered as a dedicated educator, a fierce advocate for Native Hawaiians and veterans, and lifelong public servant. His legacy continues to serve as an inspiration to the work of APAICS. Senator Akaka serves as a great example of the true embodiment of the Aloha spirit,” said APAICS President and CEO Floyd Mori.
The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.