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Jeanie Jew

Jeanie Jew is a fourth-generation Chinese American advocate who played an important role in the creation of Asian America Pacific Islander Heritage Month. She was born to a family that worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. Jeanie Jew worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill. She created and lobbied for certain legislation to be passed and worked closely with representatives to bring more representation for all Asian Americans. After witnessing the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial celebrations, Jew became frustrated that there was nothing to honor Asian and Pacific Americans. According to the U.S. census from 1970 to 1980 the population of Asian Americans doubled during the decade from 1.5 million people to 3.7 million people. The significant number of contributions Asian Americans provided was something that Jew thought needed recognition. Jew approached Representative Frank Horton of New York with the idea that there should be a month dedicated to Asian Americans. In 1977, Jeanie Jew in conjunction with Pauline Tsui and Julia Chang Bloch founded the Organization of Chinese American Women (OCAW). The Organization lobbied the federal government on issues such as immigration laws. OCAW also coordinated with the Immigration and Naturalization Services to help Asian immigrants apply for permanent residency and supported get-out-the-vote campaigns to improve Asian American voter turnout. From 1997 to 2001, Jew served as OCAW National President.

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