Skip to content


Joanne Kwong Is President Of Iconic Pearl River Mart, And Kevin Kim Serves As Commissioner Of New York City’s Small Business Services; The Two Will Be Part Of The 8-Person Commission To Study Potential Museum Creation As Directed Under Legislation Meng & Schumer Passed Into Law

Today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Representative Grace Meng announced the senator’s two appointees for the commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.

The “Commission To Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act,” which was introduced by Meng, shepherded through the Senate by Schumer, and signed into law in June, established a commission of eight individuals with various expertise in museum planning or Asian Pacific American history and culture to examine the feasibility of establishing, maintaining, funding and operating such a facility in the nation’s capital, possibly as part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.. The commission is responsible for submitting a report with recommendations to the President and Congress on the potential creation of a museum. Congress would then need to act on those recommendations to establish the museum.

“After successfully pushing to establish a commission on the creation of the first national museum dedicated to Asian American history and culture, I am proud to appoint New Yorkers Joanne Kwong and Kevin Kim as commissioners,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. “Ms. Kwong and Mr. Kim are wonderful leaders in their communities, and for all New York, and their personal and professional experiences will be beneficial to the commission and its goals as outlined by Congress.”

“From our nation’s earliest days, Asian Americans have played a profound role in shaping America. Asian Americans have contributed mightily to culture, business, public service and countless communities. They have worked hard, grown families, established businesses, made America better, and they continue to do so. That’s why it’s so important we continue to take the necessary steps to celebrate the achievements of Asian Americans and exalt our wonderful, growing, strong, beautiful Asian American community with an Asian Pacific American History and Culture Museum,” Schumer added.

“I commend Leader Schumer for making these two important appointments,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Both Joanne Kwong and Kevin Kim are tremendous leaders who will bring their knowledge and experience to this commission, and help determine the viability of creating the first national museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I was proud to sponsor the legislation to establish this commission, and I’m excited that the process is moving forward. As I have said, AAPIs have helped make the United States the greatest country in the world. It is time for more Americans to know the crucial role we’ve played, and creating a national museum would ensure there is a physical space to commemorate and share our story with future generations.”

Kevin D. Kim, who is Korean-American, is the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). He is an attorney, entrepreneur and public servant. Mr. Kim is the son of immigrants and has served as the first Asian American commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority. He is a dedicated and respected community leader who serves on the boards of various non-profit organizations, including the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He is also a part of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Mr. Kim is a Queens native and attended NYC public schools for K-12 in Queens.

Joanne Kwong, daughter of Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, is the President of Pearl River Mart, the NYC Asian emporium established in 1971. Under Ms. Kwong’s leadership, Pearl River Mart serves as a hub for the Asian American community: hosting performances, events and art exhibitions; generating digital content about culture and traditions; and serving as springboard for emerging Asian American entrepreneurs, designers and artists. She has been a civil litigator, federal judicial clerk, and adjunct law professor. Ms. Kwong is also the product of NYC public schools, including Stuyvesant High School.

Under Rep. Meng’s measure, members of the commission are to be appointed by members of the House and Senate leadership, including the Senate Majority Leader.

A copy of the bill and additional details about the commission can be viewed here.