Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Minority Business Development Agency’s AANHPI Business Summit

May 17, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Minority Business Development Agency’s AANHPI Business Summit
Wed, 05/17/2023 – 10:28

Minority business growth


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Don Graves

Thank you, Under Secretary Cravins, for that kind introduction. Hello everyone, and Happy Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! It is such an honor to be here at MBDA’s National AA and NHPI Business Summit. This event is so important, and we are grateful to MBDA for putting all of this together.

I’m especially pleased to be joined here today by Congresswoman Chu, as well as Erica Moritsugu from the White House and Krystal Ka’ai from the White House Initiative. Your trailblazing work for the AA and NHPI communities continues to inspire me.

Today is a historic day for the Department of Commerce, as we honor the life and legacy of Secretary Mineta. His name is legendary in this building, and in the history of the Asian-American community. Nominated by President Clinton, he was the first Asian-American to not only serve as Secretary of Commerce, but hold a cabinet position in any presidential administration. He later continued his distinguished career in public service as Secretary of Transportation during the George W. Bush Administration.

His story underscores minority communities’ continued struggle to secure the American Dream – to turn discrimination into equity and to recognize that diversity is the source of America’s strength – from an internment camp to Congress and the President’s Cabinet.

And through his own struggle, he became a trailblazer for economic opportunities in his community, as well as a stalwart figure in the success of American business and the success of this country. Secretary carried the torch of progress made by generations of Asian-Americans before him, who made significant contributions to this country’s economic prosperity, and continued that remarkable legacy so that future generations could prosper as well.

Everyday I walk by his portrait hanging outside my office, and I am reminded of how the power of his story and legacy resonates with my own.

I know firsthand, as Secretary Mineta did, that America’s road to prosperity runs through businesses, big and small, across all our communities – including our minority business communities.

My four-time great grandparents built a successful horse and buggy taxi business that stood on the land where the Commerce Department sits today. Their son owned a premier hotel just blocks away, and became one of our nation’s first Black patent-holders. Their success as minority entrepreneurs was crucial for our family’s well-being and contributed to this country’s success story.

It’s why I’m so proud that the Commerce Department is centering equity in our work, so that all Americans can benefit from new and unprecedented economic opportunities – including communities of color, immigrants, rural communities, and other underserved populations. And it’s why I’m proud to make this announcement.

We at the Department of Commerce are thrilled to announce that the Herbert C. Hoover Building auditorium will be named in honor of former Secretary Norm Mineta.

I remember when the idea was brought to me for this dedication, and how deeply it touched me. And I know how much this honor means to the Mineta family. And it speaks volumes that this effort was an employee-driven initiative, spearheaded by the AAPI Employee Resource Group here at Commerce, along with so many others.

We hope that this dedication will serve as a reminder to Commerce employees both now and in the future of Secretary Mineta’s significant contributions to the department, to the Asian-American community, and to the country he served.

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to everyone for being here. Now I’m pleased to hand it over to Congresswoman Chu.

Bureaus and Offices

Minority Business Development Agency


Don Graves


Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More