Join Us in Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Each year, May presents an opportunity to learn about and pay tribute to the enormous and diverse contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made throughout American history.
The term, “Asian American,” was first used by activists in 1968. Its creation was the direct result of radical cross-racial and ethnic solidarity movement building in the US in the 1960s. Very different peoples from the Asian diaspora realized that once coming to America, racism shaped particular shared histories and experiences that tied very disparate ethnic groups together. The term “Asian American” is deeply rooted in the community’s attempts to fight racism and other oppressive systems by building a sense of unity.
The history of AAPIs in America is a complicated one. As a country, we must reckon with the virulent and explicitly racist policies and practices that have been directed at Asians and Asian Americans for generations, as well as the consequences of a history of imperial conquest, militarization and extraction in Asia and the Pacific. But there is also a proud history of resistance and resilience, battles hard fought – and won – from Supreme Court landmark cases, to cultural and linguistic reclamation and deepening roots of belonging, to the fight for visibility in education as well as in career fields. In AAPI America, the statement “We belong here” is not only a denial of AAPI people being viewed as “perpetual foreigners” – people who can never be real Americans – but a firm positioning of a people’s right to be here. Affirming Asian American historical presence and the long, ongoing struggle for civil and human rights as Americans is what we celebrate this month.
AAPI heritage is a point of pride, joy, and celebration. This month, we honor the historical presence and long, ongoing struggle of the AAPI community. We also recognize the deep influence that AAPI people have on popular culture.. Millions of people, AAPI or not, enjoy their contributions – from manga and K-pop, to sushi, dimsum, boba and banh mi, and much more. We celebrate that after nearly three centuries of presence in the US, the AAPI diaspora is finding glimmers of visibility.
To learn more about how our District is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, visit our Cultural Celebrations website.
The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion