The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) was founded in 1985 by eight Federal Government employees, six of whom are Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) for the purpose of planning and implementing an interagency training program for APAs. They were: Stephen Thom (DOE), Blaine Tsugawa (DOC), Corazon Foley (State Dept.), Vivian Kim (DHHS), Robert Tsukayama (State Dept.), Kaye Nitta Tockman (DHHS), Azucena Vasquez (USIA) and the late, Judith Gilliom (DoD).
The first meeting was held at USIA hosted by Azucena Vasquez and subsequent ones were held at Department of Energy (DOE) hosted by Stephen Thom who became the first FAPAC President. In 1986, they formally adopted the name Federal Asian Pacific American Council and organized the first one day inter-agency training program for Asian Pacific Americans. Their remarkable foresight and visionary actions set FAPAC on its path that would bring us to this pinnacle of success today.
Following this initial effort, the pioneers conducted a FAPAC Heritage Month program in May 1987. In 1988, under Blaine Tsugawa’s visionary leadership, FAPAC organized and conducted the second inter-agency training program for Asian Pacific Americans in a hotel.
In 1989, under the leadership of President Corazon Sandoval Foley, FAPAC organized a recognition ceremony for APA Senior Executives. FAPAC also sponsored a cultural exhibit/program from May - July 4th at the Smithsonian Institution marking 226 years of Filipinos in America and honoring their many contributions to this great nation.
In 1990, President Vivian Kim organized FAPAC’s third training program, and the organization continued to expand its circle of activity when in 1991, it sponsored FAPAC’s first Congressional briefing in 1991 under the leadership of Robert Tsukayama.
In 1992, under the tenure and notable leadership of Vi Balayut, FAPAC established its national leadership and congressional training program. It was still a one day inter-agency training program held every two years. FAPAC held its National Leadership Training Conference in Washington, DC for many years attracting more and more participants from across the country.
From these early beginnings, FAPAC continued to grow. In 1991, Mirza Maroof became President. Under his leadership, FAPAC filed for recognition as a 501(c)(3) organization. He was also assigned to FAPAC from NASA under an IPA which allowed him to devote his energies full time to making the organization grow. By this time the inter-agency one day training conference had evolved to an annual premier training destination for federal employees and approved by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The first all week training session was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Pentagon City and the Congressional Seminar was held at the Capitol. During the tenure of President Alex Chan, FAPAC was a co-sponsor of the one day APA Summit, conducted by the Department of Labor, under the unparalleled leadership of Secretary Elaine Chao. In 2004, under President Krupakar Revanna and the tireless effort of former President Alex Chan, FAPAC held its first Conference outside of Washington, DC at the Marriott in San Francisco attended by several hundred participants.
Much of the growth of FAPAC was due to the support of early sponsors. GEICO and Blue Cross Blue Shield were early corporate sponsors, while the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) became the strong federal agency sponsors.
In 2005, under the dynamic leadership of Linda Tuazon Miller, FAPAC ventured outside the mainland, and held its Conference at the Hilton Village in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was the year when the Conference was expanded to a full week. In 2008, under the direction of President Charles Fan, FAPAC held its conference at the Brooklyn Marriott, New York, and achieved a peak attendance of 600 and 150 students. In 2009, FAPAC held its conference in Houston, Texas.
In the federal government, FAPAC has become the premier organization representing the rights of APA employees. FAPAC has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with several federal agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Transportation, the Food Safety Inspection Service of USDA, and the U. S. Marshals Service.
In 2008, at the urging of FAPAC, the Chair of EEOC, Naomi Churchill-Earp, established the APA Work Group, to study the barriers and problems faced by APA employees in the federal sector. The Work Group issued a report which identified a range of problems and has become a reference in federal agencies to eliminate inequities in employment. In addition, Naomi Churchill-Earp, also conducted field hearings where notable scholars provided detailed testimony dealing with inequities faced by APAs in employment and accessing federal benefits.
The speakers at FAPAC’s annual training conference routinely include cabinet secretaries, United States Senators, members of Congress, and other high level government appointees. Its speakers vary from astronauts to Hollywood stars. FAPAC participates with many organizations dedicated to providing educational opportunities to APA students through scholarships and summer internships in Congress and federal agencies. From little acorns do oak trees grow!!