Asian American and Pacific Islander Month 2017

Back to Commemorative Programs

On May 2, 2017, the Council held a special event to commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The event included a prepared video segment explaining the significance of the month and sharing personal stories from community members, a panel discussion about public policy issues, and a special recognition ceremony for panelists and participants.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is recognized nationally throughout the month of May, acknowledges the roles that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played in our history and celebrates their achievements and contributions. The U.S. Congress chose the month of May to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Council Ceremonies for Asian American and Pacific Islander Month Highlights

Ms. Vivien Hsueh

Chinese American Senior Services Association
Photo of Vivien Hsueh

Ms. Hsueh is the founder and president of the Chinese American Senior Services Association. This organization is committed to combatting isolation and promoting the well-being of Chinese seniors by providing them with safe places to socialize and perform community service activities. The organization has programs in community centers around the County that keep Chinese seniors active and engaged. Some of the services provided include English and computer classes, exercise programs, and nutritious meals.

Ms. Hsueh has a long history of service in Montgomery County. In addition to her work at the Chinese American Senior Services Association, she has served as vice chair for several County and non-profit organizations including: the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA); the Chinese Cultural and Community Service Center (CCACC); Senior Leadership Montgomery; and the Commission on Aging. Ms. Hsueh currently serves on the Age Friendly Montgomery Civic Involvement Committee, the Jewish Council for the Aging Board, the Commission on Aging, and the Institute of Tai Chi Art.

Ms. Song Hutchins

Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc. (AAHC)
Photo of Song Hutchins

Ms. Hutchins established Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc. (AAHC) as a nonprofit organization in March 2010. This HUD approved organization helps Asian Americans become financially responsible and sustainable homeowners. Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc. serves more than one thousand families per year.

Ms. Hutchins also is involved in various other nonprofit organizations including: the Asian Real Estate Association of America’s (AREAA’s) DC Metro Chapter; the Korean Women’s Society; the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) DC; and the Washington Korean Women’s Society.

Before founding Asian-American Home Counseling, Inc. most of Ms. Song’s professional life was spent in the banking industry where she managed more than 400 bank employees. She also worked as a retail bank branch manager and retail sales manager for Riggs Bank and Chevy Chase Bank and in mortgage banking for Wells Fargo and Capital Point Funding Group.

Mr. David Lee

Communications Vice President
Communities United Against Hate – Montgomery County
Picture of David Lee

Mr. Lee is a 20 year veteran of the Washington metropolitan media market and serves as the vice president of communications for a new organization, Communities United Against Hate (CUAH) - Montgomery County. The mission of this nonpartisan organization is to unite our diverse community to combat bigotry, support victims of hate, and promote inclusiveness in Montgomery County. Mr. Lee also works for a local DC sports broadcasting company, the Washington Redskins Radio Network (ESPN 980) in Rockville.

Mr. Lee is a community advocate. He is in his third year as PTA President for Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Gaithersburg, serves as communications chair for the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats (CAPAD-MD), and sits on the board of directors for the Asian Festival, which has been an annual event for more than 13 years.

Mr. Meng Lee

Asian American Health Initiative
Picture of Meng Lee

Mr. Lee has been a devoted volunteer in Montgomery County for more than 30 years. He began his career of volunteerism by serving as a member of the board of directors in a local Chinese school. His retirement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2002, enabled him to become a full-time volunteer for community service organizations.

In 1983 Mr. Lee joined the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC), and in 2006 he became chairman of the board of directors. He was extensively involved in program development and capacity building projects for the organization. Mr. Lee has been a pioneer in initiating many projects including the Pan Asian Volunteer Health Clinic, the STOP B Project, and the reorganization of CCACC.

Mr. Lee is particularly sensitive to the needs of minority populations, with a special focus on health care. Since the 1980s, he has been actively involved in improving health services and ending health disparities for the Asian American community. Mr. Lee is one of the founding members of the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) Steering Committee, and he currently serves as the Committee’s chairperson. Mr. Lee also sits on the board of directors for the Primary Care Coalition, and he currently serves as treasurer.

Hoan Dang

Board Member
Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce
Picture of Jon J Liu

Hoan Dang is a well-known community organizer, activist, and public servant in Montgomery County and is a leading voice within its diverse communities.

As a refugee from Vietnam whose family opened their own small business in America, Hoan has been passionate about supporting and lifting up Asian American businesses and communities in Montgomery County and the surrounding region. Hoan is a current Board Member of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, which works to support Asian American economic development through fostering business to business relationships, providing small business resources and building public private partnerships. Hoan is also the past president and current board member of the Association of Vietnamese Americans which has helped resettle over 20,000 refugees in Maryland since 1979, helping them access government services, such as immigration services, job assistance, and educational resources to succeed. He is also a current board member of the George B. Thomas Sr. Learning Academy. In 2005, Hoan was awarded the Robert H. Linowes Leadership Award by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region for his exemplary leadership and service to the community.

Besides his work to help diverse communities in the area to succeed and thrive, Hoan has worked in the federal government sector for the past 27 years. He began his career working for the National Weather Service as an electronics engineer and is currently a Sr. Program Analyst for a veteran-owned company working in support of the Department of Defense.

Hoan currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife Tonia.

Mr. Neel Saxena

Executive Director
Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (LEAD)
Picture of Neel Saxena

Mr. Saxena has more than 15 years of experience working with nonprofits and local government. He is currently the executive director of Asian American LEAD (AALEAD), which supports low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth. The organization is committed to educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership opportunities for young people through after school, summer, and mentoring programs. Asian American LEAD envisions a United States in which low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth, and youth of all backgrounds are equipped with the tools and opportunities to define themselves and their futures.

Prior to his work at AALEAD, Mr. Saxena served as a grants manager in the District of Columbia’s Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA). He distributed more than $1.25 million in direct service and capacity building grants and developed the agency’s language access. His work was nationally recognized by the Migration Policy Institute for translation quality control.

Mr. Saxena was appointed in to the U.S. Census Advisory Committee on Race and Ethnic Communities in 2006 and reappointed in 2009. In 2012, he was appointed to the United States Census Bureau National Advisory Committee by the Obama administration. Mr. Saxena is an active member of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. He also served as co-chair for the Asian American Community 2020 Census Working Group, and chaired the DC Public Schools Joint Advisory Council.