May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month — a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Like most commemorative months, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration.

In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

Below are 3 ways we can highlight and celebrate Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month.

1. Visit an Asian Cultural Center or Community Center

You would be amazed at how many cultural centers are around once you begin searching. A cultural center is an organization (private, governmental, or non-profit) or gathering area that promotes the culture and arts, often of a particular region. Try googling Indian Cultural Center your city. It's common to find cultural centers in Chinatown for example, and often there is a calendar of events, traveling exhibits, festivals, and learning opportunities. Museums are another option; they often celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with special events for the public.

2. Explore influential and important Asian-Americans.

Scholastic highlights Notable Asian Pacific Americans which include musician Yo-Yo Ma, and Michelle Kwan.

3. Learn about immigrant Experiences in the US of the Diverse Asian-American Culture.

The Smithsonian Education online walk us through the history and culture of Asian-American groups.

By Joanne Cruz



Cultural Center Jacksonville, FL

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