(Picture of Leg. Catherine Parker w/Lili & Sam Moy & Chair Vedat Gashi; Leg. David Imamura w/Dr. Diana Pan & Chair Vedat Gashi)

White Plains, NY — On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated Asian-American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with an in-person ceremony recognizing the efforts of inspiring Westchester residents: Dr. Yung Yi Diana Pan of Hastings-on-Hudson, and Lili and Sam (Mun) Moy of Rye.

Dr. Pan, a beacon of academic excellence and community service, has demonstrated unwavering commitment to fostering understanding and empowerment within diverse communities. Her illustrious career, spanning academia and activism, reflects her dedication to advancing social justice and inclusivity. The Moys, esteemed business owners and pillars of the Rye community, are renowned for their dedication to both business and philanthropy. They have exemplified resilience and generosity throughout their tenure. From revitalizing their family-owned dry cleaning business to championing numerous charitable causes, the Moys have left an indelible mark on Rye and beyond.

Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D- New Castle, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown) convened the program explaining, “This year’s theme is ‘Advancing Leaders Through Innovation’ as designated by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council. The organization not only works to support AAPI leaders in government, but to empower AAPI individuals all around the world to find success and growth in their careers in all fields. Although the U.S. Census has reported Asian-Americans as the fastest-growing population in the country, historically AAPI professionals in many arenas have been under-represented in leadership roles. In focusing on this theme, the hope is to break down societal barriers and set an example for what upcoming generations can achieve.”

“Tonight, we have the pleasure of honoring outstanding leaders in the Asian-American community from both sides of the County whose very different but equally important contributions to our local communities are immeasurable, and we are deeply grateful for their efforts.”

Legislator Catherine Parker (D - Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye) presented the first proclamation to the Moys saying, “In the heart of Rye stands Fong’s Cleaners, a small but vibrant business, a place where countless stories have been woven into our lives. Good stories like cleaning the uniforms of first responders for free during the pandemic, and painful stories like the clothes that were lost due to extreme flooding during Hurricane Ida. This humble establishment, has been a cornerstone quite literally for more than fifty years for Rye, and it is so because of the remarkable owners Mun aka Sam and Lili Moy. Sam’s journey from Canton, China to Rye is the American Dream. Hard work, overcoming obstacles whether its language or bigotry, leading with courage and selflessness, and above all leading with honor has been the Moy way of achieving prosperity, sustainability, and stability in the Moy’s new country.”

“It is with that spirit that I say it is my honor to present this proclamation which represents the respect and admiration all of us hold for you. We extend our thanks to you on behalf of all 1 million residents of Westchester on this AAPI Heritage night celebration.”

Mr. Moy responded with gratitude saying, “My wife, Lili and I are so honored to be here tonight, and grateful to be recognized for this award during your AAPI Heritage Month celebration. We would like to thank our Legislator Catherine Parker for acknowledging our hard work throughout the Rye community, as well as at our Temple in Chinatown in New York City.”

“We have always believed in getting involved in community services, and it gives me and my wife much pleasure to continue to serve.”

The Board declared May 8, 2024 “Lili and Sam Moy Day” in Westchester County.

Legislator David Imamura (D – Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington) -- the Board’s first and only Asian-American Legislator -- presented the second AAPI proclamation saying, “Diana Pan is THE statewide leader in developing and advocating for Asian-American curriculum. I am proud to call her a constituent but I’m even prouder to call her a friend. I am honored to have the opportunity to celebrate her as part of AAPI Heritage Month. Her leadership is essential to ensuring that all New Yorkers know that Asian American history is American history.”

Dr. Pan warmly thanked the Legislator for the award and delivered a powerful message saying, “Like many of you, I wear multiple hats. The one thread in my professional and personal lives is my advocacy for equity and representation. Growing up in Oregon, where it was over ninety percent white during my childhood, meant that not only did I not have role models who looked like me, I certainly did not learn about Americans of Asian descent …It wasn’t until I took Asian American Studies classes in college that I felt American, that I could own being an American, and that I could assert my American identity because I learned that people who looked like me, also contributed to the making of this country … the answer is inclusive education. To not have AANHPI studies in our curriculum demonstrates that we are okay with our friends and neighbors who look like me feeling less than, and not truly a part of American society.”

“On this AANHPI Heritage Month, I ask you to read books by AANHPI authors, watch movies that center on the lives of AANHPI residents – but not as sidekicks, buffoons, or the ESL student. I ask that you value our history, cultures, and contributions as much as you enjoy boba, dim sum, curry, or ramen.”

The Board declared May 11, 2024 “Dr. Diana Pan Day” in Westchester County.

Read the program for Monday night’s event here.