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APIAHiP Happenings | September 2023

Photo of a sunset from Upcountry in Maui on August 10, 2023 following the wildfires in Kula, Olinda and Lāhainā on August 8. Credit: Michelle Magalong

Greetings! It’s Michelle Magalong, APIAHiP’s outgoing President. In this newsletter, you will learn about our successful search for a new Executive Director, along with news about the recent fire and devastation in Lāhainā on Maui, and the recent confirmation of the Sikh Hollywood Sikh Temple as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. As I write this as my last newsletter to you, I write it with a grateful and reflective heart. On August 8th, my boyfriend and I flew to Maui for a much anticipated time for rest and restoration. We landed that afternoon and I had ambitious plans to complete my succession plan and statement. That evening, as we preemptively evacuated from Kula, I witnessed the effects of hurricane winds on the island and wildfires engulfing places like Olinda and Kula. Thankfully, we were safe and we spent the following days without power and potable water. We stayed with the intention to bear witness to the aftermath of the wildfires and the rebuilding efforts, and pour our resources to impacted businesses in Maui. We later learned about the devastation of Lāhainā town. My heart broke thinking about the precious people and places that make Lāhainā town special. As a former Californian, I knew that we had to respectfully stay in place and allow rescue agencies do their work and be ready to respond to the appropriate call to action. The economic impact felt in Maui was immediate as was the psychological. If you wonder how you can help, I personally recommend the Maui Strong Fund as hosted by the Hawai’i Community Foundation. I also suggest giving to the Lahaina Restoration Fund as they work on rebuilding Lāhainā town’s historic and cultural resources. As for historic preservation efforts in Lāhainā, Kiersten Faulkner from Historic Hawaii Foundation has shared: “The search and recovery efforts are coming to a close at this time. My understanding is that the burn area has all been searched for fatalities. The Coast Guard is completing the search at sea and along the coastline. Once they are finished with Phase 0 (fatality management), the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will go in for Phase I (removal of hazardous and flammable materials that could reignite). SHPO crews will be allowed in at that time to do a first review and note properties that should not be demolished or that should be secured or stabilized. After that, Phase 2 will be debris removal, including buildings, cars, ash and other materials. HHF is working with SHPO and is a consulting party to FEMA. We’re hoping to get more information shortly and will be able to update our landing page when they give us information to share.” For more information from Historic Hawaii foundation, visit here. In closing, I want to thank all that I’ve been honored to work with, particularly the APIAHiP board of directors and Forum hosts. Thank you for sharing your stories and places; it has been an incredible journey to be of service in elevating our peoples, places, and histories. I look forward to continuing in my work as APIAHiP remains as a pivotal cornerstone in my career. E mālama pono,

GIVE to the Maui Strong Foundation

PRESS RELEASE - APIAHiP Appoints Huy Pham as Executive Director

Washington, DC —Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation proudly announces the appointment of Huy Pham as its inaugural full-time paid Executive Director. This strategic move, fortified by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Humanities in Place program, marks a significant stride in APIAHiP's ongoing mission to safeguard and celebrate historic sites and cultural legacies that hold immense significance for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Huy Pham embodies a dynamic combination of expertise, passion, and unwavering commitment to historic preservation and cultural heritage, positioning him as the ideal fit to lead APIAHiP into the next era of its mission work. His journey with APIAHiP began with a Google search in 2019 for "Asians in Historic Preservation." After joining the Forum Planning committee and then convening with board members and attendees from all over the the continental United States, Hawai’i, and Guam for the first time at the 2020 Forum in Honolulu, it’s only apt now that Huy begins his new role with APIAHiP in the aftermath of the wildfires in Maui, specifically Lahaina Historic District, which demands critical attention from heritage professionals and mainland Americans alike. Ready to take on this pinnacle role, Huy comes into preservation as a “1.5 generation” immigrant from Vietnam, growing up in California and receiving the bulk of his education in Indiana, where his parents still reside. After attending Ball State University for degrees in architecture, historic preservation, and communication studies — Huy’s career began with the City of San Antonio's Office of Historic Preservation, where he managed hundreds of design review cases, honing his ability to guide diverse stakeholders through the preservation process. His tenure saw the formulation of groundbreaking policies, including the application of preservation values in the realm of telecommunications infrastructure and engaging new audiences through digital media platforms. Returning the west coast, his next and latest role was serving as Preservation Programs Director at the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Huy has championed numerous initiatives, including grant management, endangered places campaigns, and hands-on heritage programs for youth. His standout accomplishment was leading the nomination effort to list Seattle's Chinatown International District on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list earlier this summer with ongoing advocacy work in the foreseeable future. Beyond his professional roles, Huy remains deeply ingrained in various endeavors that positions historic preservation as a socioeconomic and environmental imperative. He serves as a board member of Friends of Little Saigon, contributes to 4Culture's Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, and holds a position as King County Landmarks Commissioner. His national impact continues as Chair of the Preservation Action Foundation, which champions federal preservation policy work through advocacy education, especially for preservation students and emerging professionals. APIAHiP's now Past President Michelle Magalong, PhD, emphasizes, "We are thrilled to receive generous support from the Mellon Foundation to build our organization's capacity in serving as the first national nonprofit focused on elevating Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in the field of historic preservation. On behalf of the board of directors of APIAHiP, we are thrilled to have Huy lead the organization." Dr. Magalong's dedication to this initiative is resolute, as she continues to be a guiding light through her role as a Senior Advisor while pursuing her work at the University of Maryland. Co-founder and Board Chair Bill Watanabe lauds the significance of the Mellon Foundation's grant, stating, "The generous grant from the Mellon Foundation will allow us to move beyond a volunteer organization and to hire competent staff who can help us to become more effective in this great American cultural movement known as historic preservation." Huy's journey and dedication are aligned with APIAHiP's mission, poised to drive the organization toward a transformative phase of leadership and growth. APIAHiP anticipates a future enriched by its new Executive Director's visionary outlook, ensuring the preservation of cherished legacies and cultural narratives. Please welcome Huy by keeping an eye out and joining our efforts on new programs and campaigns that emerge out of APIAHiP’s newest era of mission work! For more details about APIAHiP and its ongoing initiatives, please visit and follow: Instagram LinkedIn

Vermont Gurdwara/Hollywood Sikh Temple (Los Angeles, CA)

On August 9, 2023, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to designate Vermont Gurdwara, also known as the Hollywood Sikh Temple, as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. While Sikhs arrived in Los Angeles as early as the 1920s, it was not until after World War II that a larger population, predominantly highly educated professionals, settled in the city. With the passage of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act (the Immigration and Nationality Act), Los Angeles’ Sikh population began to steadily increase beginning in the late 1960s and ‘70s. The Hollywood Sikh Temple was the first gurdwara established in Los Angeles, by pioneers Dr. Amarjit Singh Marwah and Mrs. Kuljit Kaur Marwah. Since its founding in 1969, the Hollywood Sikh Temple has served thousands of Sikhs as a religious, cultural, political, and social hub and has been the focal point of Sikh American immigration, settlement, and growth in the city. APIAHiP is proud to have advocated for the temple’s recognition and looks forward to championing more AAPI heritage sites and stories! The full recommendation report and nomination form is available here.

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