OCA Mourns the Passing of Senator Daniel K. Akaka


15 April 2018

Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Associate

202.223.5500 | tnguyen@ocanational.org


Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates mourns the loss of Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka, who represented Hawaii for twenty-three years. He made history in 1990 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate as the first Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Senator Akaka served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, and later, through the GI Bill, went on to earn Bachelors and Master’s degrees in education. After working as a high school teacher and retiring as a head principal, he was hired in various federal and state positions until he was the first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district in 1976. After the passing of Senator Matsunaga, Akaka was appointed to serve temporarily but was then elected to serve the rest of Matsunaga’s term, and three more full terms.

The Senator helped pass legislation that provided benefits for Filipino World War II veterans, and was a champion of parity for his fellow Native islanders. In 2003, OCA honored Senator Akaka at its National Convention in Hawaii with the Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award. “He was lobbying for the inclusion of Pacific Islanders as a separate category from Asian Americans in the U.S. census, and sponsored the resolution that designated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month nationwide,” said Ken Lee, OCA National CEO. “Senator Akaka’s leadership and personality were rooted in Aloha, which, along with his integrity, impacted both Hawaiians and the greater Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”

OCA sends deepest condolences to his family and friends, and will remember the Senator’s example in our work to uplift and advocate for the AAPI community.

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).