On May 6, US Senator Michael Bennett and US Senator John Hickenlooper visited the Far East Center in Denver and met with small business owners to talk about the impact of COVID and provide support in regards to the hate and violence that has been directed at Asians this past year. In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, the Senators joined the businesses, the Asian Chamber of Commerce, and Asian Avenue Magazine for a meal provided by Viet’s Restaurant.

They both purchased gifts at Truong An Gifts for Mother’s Day for their wives and ate durian for the first time at Little Saigon Market! Senator Hickenlooper said, “How often do you get a new experience and eat something you never knew existed?”

Both senators shared their proud support of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act which passed the US Senate on a 94-1 vote. The bill designates a specific employee within the U.S. Department of Justice fully dedicated to facilitating expedited reviews of COVID-19 hate crimes and requires federal guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies on expanding culturally competent, linguistically appropriate public education campaigns, data collection and public reporting of hate crimes.

Senator Bennett said, “It tells us a lot that this was a bipartisan bill. We all agree that the violence against Asian Americans is unacceptable and we must do something about it. It’s very important that we act in a timely way.”

Lt. Governor Diane Primavera visited the Far East Center to recognize Asian Heritage Month and talk to the business owners and staff about the impacts of COVID and recovery efforts on May 20. Lt. Governor Primavera said, “I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the store owners and community here!”

She continued, “I’m also very impressed that these businesses are surviving COVID because of their strong family ties – the family that provides staff and funding support.” Follow her for updates at: fb.com/LtGovofCO.

US Representative Jason Crow met with Asian American leaders and Denver Health staff, while volunteering at a vaccine clinic on May 25. He met with Gary Yamashita, CEO of Sakura Square; Peggy Moore, Special Projects Coordinator for the Asian Chamber of Commerce; and Father Joseph Dang, Vietnamese community navigator for Denver Health. He also toured the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple and Sakura Square. While visiting with Jolie Noguchi at Pacific Mercantile, he learned that the supermarket is a 75-year-old, family-owned business. Follow him for updates at: fb.com/RepJasonCrow.

Photos by:

Michael Ye