Founded in 2004, the premier initiative of the Robert Chinn Foundation has led to an annual event in the Asian Pacific American community: the Asian Hall of Fame. It’s the only event of its kind to bring a national focus to the personal achievements of APAs who contribute to the American experience and continue to inspire the next generation.

This year, the Asian Hall of Fame will be held at the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle, honoring the following individuals: Nathan Adrian, Norman Mineta, Grace Park, and Manu Tuiasosopo.

“I am extremely honored to be the first Samoan Pacific Islander included in the Asian Hall of Fame,” said Tuiasosopo, a former NFL player and first-round draft choice for the Seattle Seahawks. “I am delighted for the positive exposure this experience will bring to our Samoan families and culture.”

Tuiasosopo has played for five seasons before receiving NFL All-Rookie honors in his first year as a pro. Today, he spends his seasons helping coach and counsel youths in education and football skills as part of his community service to local Washington high school programs, Samoan organizations, and the larger APA community.

“The Asian Hall of Fame is important for all APAs because it shows the wide breadth of opportunities that have opened up to all APAs,” said honoree Norman Mineta. “It shows that with self-determination, perseverance, hard work, good mentoring and networking, there are all kinds of opportunities to pursue — even those which were felt to be unattainable or closed in the past.”

Mineta has made a significant impact through his long political career as the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Mayor of San Jose, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the longest-serving Secretary of Transportation in the history of the position, and today, he serves as the Vice Chairman of Hill & Knowlton, a leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients.

“My heritage and the experience of those of Japanese ancestry has driven me in many of the actions of my career in public service,” he adds. “As I reflected and acted on these needs of the Japaense American community, I came to realize that the totality of the Asian American Pacific Islander community was not much different. Therefore, I have in the last 10 to 15 years been more devoted to the idea of Pan Asian community needs.”

Grace Park, known for her role in Battlestar Galactica and Hawaii Five-0, also recognizes the importance her heritage has in her many life achievements.

“There is a liberty that exists with the ability to float between two cultural worlds,” she said. “It allows one to be more aware of oneself, as apart from society, as well as feeling one can choose which rules to play by. Perhaps this influenced me to strive for what I wanted, even if I were to obtain it, I always had the other society’s perspective to bring it into balance.”

Nathan Adrian, three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer and another one of this year’s honorees for the Asian Hall of Fame, also takes notice in his own life.

“My heritage is something that I have always been aware of, however, some would say that there is a disproportionately low number of Asians as professional athletes. I take pride in trying my best to be a role model to show young Asian American boys and girls that they are only limited by the size of their dreams.”

Though Adrian has proved himself to be a world-class swimmer, holding the American record in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events, he also aspires to be a leader in public health and to influence policy and patient care.

The Robert Chinn Foundation invites you to join them on Saturday, May 31 at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate this year’s honorees and their contributions to the APA community. After the cocktail and silent auction, the program will commence at 7:00 p.m., led by emcee Mimi Jung of KING 5 Television who will guide the rest of the evening.

Guests can look forward to a night of a celebration and entertainment, including performances by Morning Star Korean Cultural Center. Be sure to get your tickets now as tables are being reserved fast. General admission is $200. For more information, visit www.asianhalloffame.org.

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