Tuesday, December 6, 2011

News: Asian American Appreciation Day Brings Community Together

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, December 6, 2011

VVA Press Contact:
Vel Hernandez, (703) 362-7873

Asian American Appreciation Day Brings Community Together to
Recognize Extraordinary Leadership

AAPI Community Honors Leadership at All Levels
Dec 3 Group Photo 1.jpg  Dec 3 - Reme Grefalda.jpg

Left photo: VVA team and supporters with Delegate Vivian Watts (VA-39), who is honored with Best
Legislative Leader Award at Asian American Appreciation Day (Courtesy of Sherrell Williams).
Right photo: Reme Grefalda of Library of Congress is honored with Cultural and Diversity Award
(Courtesy of VVA).
For photos of the event, please visit here.

FAIRFAX, Va. (Dec. 6) -- Asian American Appreciation Day, an event hosted by Voice of Vietnamese Americans in coalition with other organizations this past Saturday, December 3 at the Fairfax County Government Center, recognized U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Fairfax County leadership, community organizers as well as educators from across the greater D.C. area for their contributions to the Asian American Pacific Islander community

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership efforts shown by our region’s educators, community organizers as well as our elected officials at all levels,” Genie Nguyen, VVA President, said. “We were honored to have Americans of all ages and ethnicity backgrounds gather with us on Saturday to express appreciation to our leaders, who themselves are very diverse. Their hard work continues to improve the quality of living for Vietnamese Americans and in all AAPI communities here and across the country.”

The event, which was the first of its kind for the Northern Virginia AAPI community, recognized individuals who have made honorable contributions in the areas of education, jobs, health, human rights, social justice and foreign affairs in the Vietnamese and AAPI communities.

Attended by over 100 people, the event was supported by over a dozen organizations and businesses, including Skillsource, Brigitte Le from the Galerie Brigitte, Nhut Pho from Miss Vietnam DC, SANT Gupta from the Indian American Forum of Political Education, Toshi Okuya from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Costco of Fair Lakes, Va. and the Vietnamese Mothers' Team.

Ms. Pho, who was this year’s winner of the Miss Vietnam DC pageant show, participated in the program and individually handed each award honoree their awards. Ms. Le, founder and owner of the renowned art gallery, Galerie Brigitte, handcrafted the calligraphy on all awards, which were glass plates.

Members of the Japanese American, Filipino American, and the Indian American community also attended to express their appreciation. Dr. Larry Shinagawa, Associate Professor and Director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park, also attended in support of the event. Additionally, number of members from the Vietnamese Senior Citizens’ community also attended.

The online news publication, Patch.com, called the local event, “a day of recognition for one of the largest minority groups in the county.”

U.S. Senator from Virginia Mark Warner was recognized for his efforts in bringing jobs to Virginia. Recipient of the “Leader in Jobs and Economic Development” award, Sen. Warner, in a statement, expressed his support of VVA and the event: “I commend all those who work with your organization to help strengthen the community and improve the lives of others."

“This Appreciation Day was a collaborative success as it drew members from every AAPI background and gathered people from all age backgrounds,” Ms. Nguyen said. “VVA joined the greater AAPI community in supporting our great leaders who work and represent our growing, changing community.”

The event also recognized U.S. Senator Jim Webb, who was awarded with the “Leader in Foreign Affairs” award for his extraordinary efforts in bringing U.S- Asia relations to the forefront in his role as U.S. Senator and especially in his leadership position on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Webb, in a letter of support to VVA, expressed the importance of relationships with Asia: “Throughout my time in the U.S. Senate, it has been a great privilege to represent your members and also to emphasize the strategic importance of our country’s relationships in Asia.

Other members of Congress recognized for their work in the AAPI community include
Congressman Frank Wolf and Congressman Gerry Connolly. The event also recognized members of the Virginia General Assembly, including Delegate Vivian Watts and Delegate Mark Keam.

From the county level, many members of Fairfax County government attended and a few were recognized for their outstanding contributions in the local Vietnamese American community. Chairman of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova was awarded with the "Best County Management Leader in the Commonwealth of Virginia” award. Vice Chairman and Mason District Supervisor Penelope “Penny” Gross was award with the “Best Mason District Leader” award. Braddock District Supervisor John Cook also attended in support of the event.

For a full list of award honorees, please visit here. For photos of the event, please visit here.


The mission of Voice of Vietnamese Americans is to empower Vietnamese Americans by promoting civic engagement through community organizing and capacity building. Voice of Vietnamese Americans enhances, defends, and protects the American core values of human rights, civil rights, democracy, liberty, and justice for all.


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