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May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island). We would like to recognize the 22.2 million Asians and 1.6 million Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander communities in the United States.

Since 1979, May has been a dedicated time to celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage. In 1990, George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month; May was officially designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month two years later.

Selected to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. in May 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1859 that was made possible by thousands of Chinese laborers, APAH Month elevates the stories, contributions, and experiences of Asian and Asian American communities.

We would also like to bring attention to and condemn the violence and hatred that has been directed at the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Learn more about the rich heritage and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in America at https://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/