Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


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Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Banner Top Flags: Thailand, China, The Philippines, Hawaii, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Thailand Bottom Flags: Japan, Brunei, Taiwan, Hmong, Jordan, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Japan

The United States observe Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month in the Month of May. AAPI consists of groups in relation to approximately 50 distinct groups and 100 languages that connect and stem from China, India, Japan, The Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Hawaii, and other Asian and Pacific Islander ancestries.

On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution, Public Law 95-419, to dedicate a week celebration for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill, passed by Congress, to extend Asian American Heritage Week to one month.

On May 14, 1991, Congress unanimously passed a bill, signed by President Bush, to designate May 1991 and May 1992 as Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month. By 1992, Public Law 102-450 declared May as the official designated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated in May because of two key days: May 7, 1843 and May 10, 1869. May celebrates and commemorates the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in the United States on May 7, 1843, along with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869, in which over 20,0000 Asian immigrants worked on laying down trail tracks.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing immigrant group in the United States. The 2020 US Census Bureau estimates that there are 24 million Asian, alone or in combination, residents in the United States in 2021.

The numbers have grown since then!

Why Is AAPI Heritage Month Important?

The AAPI has a rich history filled with success, trailblazing, and cultural shifts. Along with this is the unfortunate reality of hate and racism deeply rooted in the group’s history. For the last 5 years, the AAPI community has received hate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the term AAPI is followed and commonly used by the Stop AAPI Hate Campaign who helped raised awareness attacks and hate that is directed towards the AAPI community since the start of the pandemic.

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month helps the community to set new beginnings for the community and celebrate the joys of the cultures.. By celebrating, the community discourages hate and racism in order to focus on their respective cultures and identities.

The Contribution of the AAPI Community

To date back, on May 10, 1869 the Transcontinental Railroad was completed with the help of 20,000 Chinese workers. About 90% of the western railroad’s construction was done by chinese migrant workers. While the contribution of the Chinese migrant workers was one of the first events to happen, the most recent achievement is in the film industry, the first of its kind to win multiple global award.

Multiverse film Everything Everywhere All at Once” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, is a predominately asian cast that won 7 Oscar awards with a total of 11 nominations in 2023. It was the first year at the Oscars to have multiple asians win in the same year.

AAPI Population from the US Census Bureau: 2020 Census
(Data provided by the US Census Bureau Estimate represents individuals and combinations that reported a detailed specific Asian group) (Chart by Veniz Rahon using Meta Chart)

Michelle Yeoh was the first woman of Asian descent to win Best Actress making history at both the Oscars and in the Asian American community. Adding on to this outstanding achievement, the film won Best Picture, which is the night’s top honor.

The Grizzly Gazette is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to those who identify as part of the community in this piece, and in order to boost Golden Valley High School’s motto, “Diversity is our Strength. Unity is our Goal.”

Riya Patel, a Junior in Golden Valley High School, and the Asian Student Union President explains, “Celebrating culture is extremely significant for diversity acknowledgement and diversity knowledge.”