DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, DNC Vice Chair Tammy Duckworth, and DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong issued the following joint statement on the passing of Norman Mineta:

Today we mourn the loss of Secretary Norman Mineta. He was a pioneer, mentor, and friend.

Norman Mineta forged a path as the quintessential public servant, demonstrating what can be achieved in the face of adversity. He was the first Asian American mayor of a major American city. He served as a United States congressman for 20 years. He was the first Asian American to serve in a presidential Cabinet — in two administrations, first as secretary of commerce and then transportation. As secretary of transportation during 9/11, he protected our nation. He was a tireless servant for the American people.

He and his family, along with tens of thousands of other Japanese Americans, were unjustly interned during World War II. Seared by his experience, Norman would go on to be instrumental to the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, the legislation that won reparations and a measure of justice for Japanese American families. He was equally instrumental to the creation of what is now Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Norman’s impact on our nation’s politics and on emerging AANHPI voices is seen in the ever-increasing electoral power and civic participation of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. He inspired generations of activists. Today, countless public servants, community leaders and political leaders are proud to call Norman their mentor and role model. We have lost a titan of the AANHPI community. 

It is fitting that we honor the man, his accomplishments, and the unparallelled impact and rich legacy of Secretary Norman Mineta during this AANHPI Heritage Month. Our thoughts are with his family and all who loved him.


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