John F. Kennedy once said: “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal.” The American ideal is to recognize the rich cultural diversity of our nation and honor the contributions of all immigrants. The U.S. celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May. Through traditional and social media, in theatres, museums, and parks, various events are organized to draw attention to Asian American and Pacific Islander culture.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - History
Numbers keep growing
According to a survey, 1.5 million Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders live in the U.S.
Asians Became the Largest Immigrant Community
Asians surpassed Hispanics as the largest immigrant community. They are also the fastest growing.
It Became a Monthlong Celebration
We have President George H.W. Bush to thank for making this official.
Chinese Exclusion Act
As a result of growing anti-Chinese sentiment, this act banned Chinese citizens from entering the US for 10 years.
How to Observe Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
1. Cook an exotic recipe
Embark on a cultural culinary journey in your kitchen! Begin with fresh ingredients and serve up some Asian or Hawaiian dishes.
2. Join the social media celebrations
You don’t have to be an Asian American or Pacific Islander to join the fun on social media. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who is one. Tag or follow them.
3. Travel back to your roots
Connect with relatives and trace your genealogy. Don’t forget to record your experiences in a memoir and make your family tree. It's something the next generation can treasure!
4 Things To Know About Asian Americans And Pacific Islanders
1. The Chinese arrived first
Chinese immigrants came in the mid-19th century to work on the railroads and gold mines.
2. Aloha is not a simple "Hello"
The Spirit of Aloha is a law that all Hawaiians, including tourists, must follow and respect by emoting good feelings for others.
3. New "home" states
More than half of all Pacific Islanders live in two states – Hawaii and California.
4. The Largest Asian American Population
Hawaii has the largest Asian American population — nearly 800,000.
Why Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is Important
A. It honors immigrants
Asian American immigrants and Pacific Islanders contribute greatly to the U.S. economy. This is a time to recognize how they have strengthened our communities.
B. We learn about diversity
Events and activities give us a glimpse of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ rich culture.
C. It emphasizes racial equality
Celebrations like these keep the dialogue alive.