Date: May 12, 2021
To: All EXIM Staff
From: Jim Cruse, Acting Chairman
Re: Asian/Pacific Heritage Month 2021 at EXIM
In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 that annually designated May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Month. Today, more than 20 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are spread across more than 20 ethnic groups in the United States, making AAPIs among the fastest-growing racial and ethnic groups in our country. The AAPI communities have diverse cultures, customs and languages, all of which have made unique contributions to American society, and continue to strengthen the fabric of our country every day.
Within the business community, there are more than two million businesses owned by Asian-Americans in the United States, including thousands that EXIM has supported since our founding in 1934. One such company is AcousticSheep LLC, started in 2007 by Dr. Wei-Shin Lai in Erie, Pennsylvania. Dr. Lai launched her company to help her patients fall asleep more easily with the help of earphones specifically designed to wear in bed or while running. As the company grew and expanded into international markets, Dr. Lai began using EXIM’s export credit for protection against the risk of nonpayment, which enabled the company to increase exports to its original markets and find new opportunities in more countries. With EXIM’s help, the company has gone on to win more than a dozen awards for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and exporters.
As we celebrate this month, I encourage everyone at EXIM to reflect on the support we have provided for AAPI-owned businesses such as AcousticSheep and rededicate ourselves to building programs and products on a foundation of equity and inclusion. I also want to thank all of the Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who have chosen to make EXIM part of their careers. This organization is better because of you, and I thank you for your service to American exporters and to our country.
Finally, I know that the past year has included great pain for so many and heightened fear for Asian- American communities in the wake of anti-Asian harassment and violence. As I have said before, these acts of hatred are wrong, and EXIM will continue to stand firmly in solidarity with AAPI communities.
This month and always, EXIM embraces the strength that diversity brings to our organization, and we are grateful for all the contributions from AAPI communities. EXIM is proud to celebrate Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and the achievements of these outstanding communities.
Acting First Vice President