The month of May is dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month- a time in which Asian and Pacific islanders are celebrated in the United States. The 2000 US Census defines “Asian Americans” to be people with origins from Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. The various cultures within the Asian community are those from New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaiian Islands, and many more countries!
Why is AAIP Heritage Month in May?
This month was chosen to perpetuate the arrival of the first-ever Japanese immigrants into the United States. On May 7th, 1843, the California Gold rush had just begun followed by the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10th, 1869. There were many things taking place during this month which soon began to be celebrated but only within 10 days during the late 1970s. It wasn’t until 1992 that George H. W. Bush extended the celebration of this heritage into a month-long.
It is essential to celebrate this month, especially in the year 2021. Throughout the past year, Asian communities have been targeted and discriminated against due to the coronavirus and its origin, China. Besides advocating on behalf of this community, there are many ways to celebrate and showcase your allyship. Despite the negative rhetoric, the Asian community has been flourishing in film. There is much more representation in mainstream media than there ever has been. But before diving into those films
How can you celebrate the Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month?
One of the many ways to celebrate this month is taking the time to learn the history behind their traditions, and culture. Believe it or not, AAIP’s have played a large role in shaping modern-day history. You can start by reading or even listening to a podcast regarding Asia, Asian culture, t Asia and the many countries and cities it contains. It’s a great place to start!
Another way to celebrate is through science. The Lunar Calendar is based on the phases of the moon which differs from the standard calendar based on the rotation of Earth around the Sun. Specific cultures that follow the Lunar calendar are China, Tibetan, Mongolia, and the Vietnamese. NASA even took the time to celebrate this rich heritage by showcasing the significant contributions made by those of AAIP descent.
A great way to celebrate this month is by dining at your local Asian-owned restaurants or creating Asian cuisine at home. Since AAIP month encompasses various cultures, try narrowing it down by focusing on a specific country and the foods they consume there. Most ingredients can be found at your local supermarket!
For more ways to celebrate, visit Asiasociety.org for an in-depth look at this year’s calendar. From day-to-day activities, appearances from guest speakers, to at-home adventure through Asia, needless to say, there are many ways to celebrate this month and beyond.
As we take the time to celebrate this month, we should never forget the past and current injustices against this community. People are finally waking up to issues regarding race beginning with black, brown, and Asian communities. Jay Leno, among many others, has apologized for Anti-Asian jokes and remarks and acknowledged his wrongdoing throughout his career. Progress has been made, but it is far from where we need it to be. If you or someone you know identifies as an AAIP, remind them to always be proud of who they are and their curie and to never let society take that from them.
Source(s): Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/specials/asian-pacific-american-heritage-month/
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 – Exhibits and Collections. (n.d.). Asian Pacific Heritage. https://asianpacificheritage.gov/exhibits-and-collections/