The history of AAPI Heritage Month dates back to the 1970s when congressional members introduced resolutions to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation to honor the achievements of AAPIs, designating the first ten days of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Week. President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration to the entire month of May in 1992, and it became officially known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The AAPI community in the United States is diverse, including individuals and families of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indian, Pakistani, Cambodian, and other ancestry. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020, there were more than 24 million AAPIs living in the country, making up around 7.4% of the population.
AAPIs have contributed significantly to the culture, economy, and social fabric of the U.S. They have excelled in various fields, including science, technology, engineering, arts, and education. AAPIs have also played a vital role in the history of the United States, from building the transcontinental railroad to fighting in World War II and the Vietnam War. Furthermore, AAPIs have fought tirelessly for civil rights, social justice, and equality.
This year, as we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges and discrimination AAPIs have faced, particularly during the pandemic. The AAPI community has seen an increase in hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination, which has highlighted the need for unity, support, and understanding.
It’s essential to honor this month by celebrating the diversity in our community and recognizing the contributions of AAPIs who have made a significant impact on our country. We can attend events, workshops or read books, watch TV shows and movies, and listen to music that highlights the diverse cultural traditions and achievements of this community.
In conclusion, AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate, honor, and recognize the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. It’s a time to appreciate the diversity of their cultures, traditions, and history and to build bridges of understanding and respect. We must continue to support and uplift our AAPI community and work together to promote inclusivity and justice in America.