Washington D.C.– The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) mourns the passing of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. He was the first Asian-American mayor of a major city and cabinet official in the United States. In 1971, Norman Mineta broke racial barriers by becoming the mayor in his hometown of San Jose during the time of the city’s major population boom. He then later served as a 10-term congressman and a cabinet secretary. He was well-known for his expertise in the byzantine policies governing the country’s highways, railroads, and airports. He will also be remembered as a pioneer, advocate, and mentor to Asian-American organizations.
NaFFAA Founding Co-Chair, Gloria T. Caoile, remembers Secretary Mineta in her statement saying, “Our hearts are broken with the passing of our mentor, Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. He inspired generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders to make a difference. A giant among us, he leaves footprints that future generations can follow.
It was Secretary Mineta who was the catalyst for the AAPI’s presidential inaugural celebration. He valued inclusion, championed democracy, and promoted civic participation. He wanted our communities to celebrate our political victories. He instructed a group of us to organize an AAPI inaugural gala and told us the President of the United States would be there to recognize our contributions. Wisely, he combined our cultural appreciation for gatherings with political participation. We will always love him, cherish his memory, and honor his legacy.”
NaFFAA National President and Chair, Brendan Flores, also stated, “Today our country has lost one of its most accomplished citizens, former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. As a Japanese American who experienced great racial discrimination throughout his life, Secretary Mineta made his passion for advocacy for justice and equality in the AAPI community a top priority. His long list of accomplishments and bipartisan leadership has and will continue to inspire generations of AAPI leaders. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations thanks Secretary Mineta for paving the way for members of our community to achieve great heights.”
We look forward to continuing to honor Secretary Mineta’s legacy throughout the month for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.