76ers Recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
“Phila Unite” is about more than just playoff basketball, it is about a diverse fan base uniting as one. As the 76ers continue their season into the month of May, which is when Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is honored, the celebration of their local community ties come to be at the forefront of the organization’s year-round efforts to foster an inclusive environment for all fans.
During their Eastern Conference Semifinals home games this month, the 76ers honored members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities through their Toyota Salute of the Game recognition. One recipient of this honor was the National Museum of the United States Army, represented by Director Tammy Call. Scheduled to open in Virginia next year, the museum will honor all soldiers, including the Japanese-American Nisei soldiers, who are among the most decorated in U.S. Military history.
“It’s a very powerful story,” Call said. “It’s important that Americans understand that. This is a story we don’t want to forget.”
The 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team of Nisei soldiers served with distinction, earning seven Presidential Unit Citations and 21 Medals of Honor. The men and women of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) used their bilingual skills to assist the Allied forces by serving as interpreters and translators in the Pacific Campaign during World War II.
“The National Veterans Network applauds the Philadelphia 76ers on their recognition of the Japanese-American soldiers of World War II during Asian Pacific Heritage Month and beyond,” said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, Executive Director, National Veterans Network. “We look forward to sharing more of their stories when the National Museum of the United States Army opens in 2020.” On May 2, Commander Roland de Guzman was recognized for his 29 years of service in the United States Navy. Across his incredible service, CDR de Guzman has been deployed multiple times, including tours to Africa, Guam, Japan and Puerto Rico. Through his service, CDR de Guzman, a Second-Generation Filipino American, followed in his family’s military footsteps. During World War II, two of his grand-uncles served alongside the U.S. Military units based in the Philippines.
In addition to the National Museum of the United States Army and CDR de Guzman be recognized, so to was Master Sergeant Frank Carcel. MSGT. Carcel, a Filipino American, has served 12 years in the United States Air Force, including two deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For his outstanding service, MSGT. Carcel has been awarded the Global Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
The 76ers’ commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities does not start and end during the month of May, it is truly year-round. This year, the organization partnered with Temple University on a number of elements and activations surrounding the NBA China platform. Back in October, the 76ers tipped-off Jr. NBA Week by hosting a basketball clinic, featuring former 76er Marc Jackson, at the team’s training complex in Camden, NJ. The clinic was held for more than 40 youth from the Philadelphia Suns, a non-profit organization based in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood that is dedicated to fostering community by encouraging sportsmanship and volunteerism. The clinic aligned with the team’s preseason trip to China when the 76ers played two games against the Dallas Mavericks in the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen.
On February 5, the 76ers continued to show their commitment to these communities by hosting their annual Chinese New Year Game, presented by Temple University. The game featured several in-arena elements and recognitions dedicated to this celebration, including the honoring of Ellen Somekawa with the Game Changer Award, presented by Firstrust Bank. Ellen is a founder of Philadelphia's FACTS Charter School, which is located in the heart of Chinatown and teaches its students Mandarin Chinese.
Across their diverse community, the 76ers strive to provide inclusive experiences and environments for all fans. They will continue to recognize the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the entire month of May both in-arena and in-community.