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May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

What is AAPI Heritage Month?

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. The AAPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, there were about 20.6 million people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, AAPI people are a diverse and growing population that make up about 7 percent of the total U.S. population. AAPI Heritage Month 2024 will take place from Wednesday, May 1 to Friday, May 31.  (History.com)

Why should we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month? 

AAPI people have a long history in the United States, despite the stereotype that they are “perpetual foreigners,” the idea that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are inherently foreign, other and not truly American.   In reality, people of Asian descent have contributed to the growth and shaping of American culture for generations.  Through government leadership, scientific innovation, arts and cultural works, culinary trends and entertainment - Asian Americans have made an undeniable impact on American culture.  We celebrate the many contributions of Asian Americans during this month to raise awareness and appreciation of the Asian American community in the United States.   We are all part of American history.  

Why is AAPI Heritage Month in May? 

The month of May was designated as AAPI Heritage Month due to two important dates in Asian American history:  May 7 and May 10.

May 7, 1843, marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States.  And May 10, 1869, or Golden Spike Day, recognizes the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S., which had significant contributions from Chinese workers.

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