pacific islander

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

We are celebrating Asian and Pacific American Heritage this month. Congress proclaimed a week of May in 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, and in 1992, it designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants coming to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the Golden Spike Day of May 10, 1869 when Chinese workers contributed tremendously to complete the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.

Over one hundred years have passed since Angel Island, a counterpoint to Ellis Island, was built on the West Coast. It was used as an immigration detention center during the Asian exclusion era. Today, the estimated number of AAPI population in the U.S. is 24.2 million, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimate, Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing racial or ethnic groups in the U.S. Over the years, AAPIs have contributed to shaping the identity of the nation. They have confronted persistent exclusion and inequity in domestic policies and social practices, and yet contributed to the nation’s economy, science and technology, and culture and arts. They fought not only against discrimination and violence in the nation, but also in many wars to protect the nation. Yet, their challenges and struggles, and contributions to and legacies in U.S. history and culture have not been well-recognized or educated. It was only last month when the very first bill mandating a curriculum of Asian American History in public schools passed. 

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