Observances ~ May
Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month long celebration.
During the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among more than 56 ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific Islands (speaking over 100 languages) who live in the United States.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month offers us an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our nation, reflect on the challenges still faced by AAPI communities, and recommit to making the American Dream a reality for everyone. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders comprise many ethnicities and languages, and their myriad achievements embody the American experience. Many AAPI communities continue to fight prejudice and struggle to overcome disparities in education, employment, housing, and health care.
This year, we recognize the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act's repeal -- milestones that helped mend deep wounds of systemic discrimination. Through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, there is work to expand opportunities for AAPI communities by improving access to Federal programs where Asian American and Pacific Islanders are currently underserved.
- U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2013
- White House Presidential Proclamation: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May 2013
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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