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Celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by River Seiler on 2023-05-08T08:00:00-05:00 in U.S. History since 1877, U.S. History to 1877, World History | 0 Comments

May is Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, also known as AAPI month. AAPI month is an opportunity to celebrate the diverse culture and history of Asian-American and Pacific Islander peoples, as well as promoting inclusion and understanding of AAPI culture and peoples.

What Asian-American and Pacific Islander People Are Saying About AAPI Month

To hear from people who are Asian-American and Pacific Islander about what AAPI month means to them, check out Panasonic’s “What My Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Means to Me” article. This article includes interviews with Panasonic’s diverse staff, who all discuss a variety of reasons that AAPI month is important to them.

One interviewee, Rina Desai, stated that AAPI month is about

“appreciating your culture and respecting the cultures of others…it’s a great time to recognize the accomplishments and successes of those with an Asian-American background.”

Another interviewee, Jessica Liu-Edmonds, talked about the importance of representation of AAPI peoples and culture in books:

“We recently added the book Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho to our library. It makes me happy to finally see books that star an Asian protagonist and talk about what it is like to be Asian.”

You can read more interviews with Asian-American and Pacific Islander people here!

How Did AAPI Month Get Started?

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Ellen Wu, an Asian American history professor at Indiana University Bloomington, discussed the issues of the Asian-American community as a minority group during the major civil rights movements in U.S. history. “Between the Black Freedom movement and the other civil rights movements, there was a major recognition that minority groups had rights in American society and the government ought to recognize those rights and protect the well-being of minority groups,” Wu stated (From Sara Li’s “What is AAPI Heritage Month? Learn About its History and How to Celebrate Respectfully” article for Teen Vogue). Wu touches on an important point about AAPI month, and other heritage months as well. Recognizing not just the culture and history of minority groups, but also the rights of minority groups, is an important part of why we celebrate.

In 1990, May was designated as Asian American Pacific Islander Month. May was chosen “to mark the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, as well as the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 (From the “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage and History in the U.S.” Teacher’s Guide by EDSITEment!).

For more information on AAPI month, check out EDSITEment!’s guide to AAPI month, or some of the books listed below!


Thanks for reading! We hope to see you in the Library again soon!

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