The New England District’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office hosted its annual Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month event, May 28 in the Concord Park Theater. The Army theme for the 2015 observance was, “Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She was first elected in November 2007 and is currently serving her fourth term. Lt. Col. Charles Gray, Deputy Commander of the New England District, welcomed Mayor Wong and thanked her for taking time out of her schedule to speak.
“Mayor Wong has become known throughout the state as one of the most effective leaders in economic restructuring, environmental affairs and redevelopment projects," he said. "She was recently asked to head the Gateway Cities Initiative statewide."
Kate Atwood, Asian American/Pacific Islander Program Manager, introduced Mayor Wong to the audience. “By managing more effectively in lean times, Mayor Wong has been able to lower crime, make significant capital improvements and attract private investments,” she said. “She is also a leader in conservation efforts, setting aside over 1,700 acres for permanent conservation and building parks and trails along the Nashua River, allowing for more tourism as well as enjoyment by the citizens of Massachusetts."
According to her biography, she is the first minority mayor in Fitchburg and the first female Asian American mayor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Wong’s presentation centered on growing up and community involvement. At the end of her presentation, Lt. Col. Gray awarded her a Bunker Hill plaque in appreciation for her coming to speak.
The United States has recognized the month of May as the time to acknowledge the achievements and contributions to the American Story by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians.
According to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the Unites States (May 7, 1843) and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 10, 1869). The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.