AACI Celebrates the Life and Memory of Norman Y. Mineta

AACI Celebrates the Life and Memory of Norman Y. Mineta

On May 3rd, 2022, our community lost one of its giants. We at AACI share in the community’s sadness and grief at the passing of Norman Y. Mineta, and we offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends. But in our sadness, we cannot help but also reflect and be grateful for the work he has done for us and for the communities we all serve.

Countless people have spoken and written about Norman Mineta’s impressive accomplishments over the decades. Overcoming his experiences as a child of being interned with his family at Heart Mountain, Wyoming during World War II, he grew up to become Mayor of San José. He then became a member of Congress and was re-elected 10 times by his constituents. He served in the cabinets of two presidents—one Democrat, one Republican—first as Secretary of Commerce and then as Secretary of Transportation. And he did all of this while never losing sight of where he came from, or of what his values were.  As a public servant, Norman Mineta served his constituents and his country faithfully, and he served them well.

However, in Silicon Valley, and for many in the Asian and Pacific Islander community, Norman Y. Mineta was so much more than a dedicated public servant. For many of us, he was the fulfillment of the American Dream. He showed us what is possible with the right combination of talent, hard work, and community support. He taught us why we need to be at the table and how we can work to get there. Norman Mineta showed us that together, we can move mountains.

Like many organizations in Silicon Valley, AACI was lucky enough to have worked directly with Norman Mineta over the years. At AACI, he was a long-time advocate, partner, and donor. At our 10-year anniversary gala in 1983, we recognized Norman Mineta as a pioneer in breaking so many barriers for Asian and Pacific Islander communities that we gave him the honorary title of Primus—Latin for “first.” In the program for that event, we wrote, “…the quality that sets Norm apart is his lifelong and continuing commitment to his community—we see this commitment as but one aspect of his integrity and character…we extend our appreciation and wish continued success to you, our prime mover, our best, our number one, our primus.”

As we reflect on Norman Mineta’s proud legacy, we at AACI reaffirm our commitment to serving our communities purposefully, thoughtfully, and without reservation. We will engage with partners large and small, and we will build bridges at every opportunity. And as he showed us, AACI will never tire in seeking out inequities and in using all the tools at our disposal to alleviate suffering in service to our mission.  This we will do, for our clients. For our communities. For Norm.

Rest in power, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for your service.