For 30 years, May has been designated as a celebration of the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders to America’s history.
A resolution was introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1977 to establish Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. Signed into law a year later by President Jimmy Carter, it commemorates the first immigrants from Japan who arrived in the U.S. on May 7, 1843, as well as the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1863. The majority of the railroad workers were Chinese, and it was important for their contribution to be recognized.
Originally, Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage was celebrated during the first week of May. Over time, the celebration was extended and May became Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month starting in 1992. Since 2009, the observance has been known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Every year, the U.S. acknowledges the influence that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have had in our history. For 2022, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council dedicated this month’s theme, “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.”
In a country with such diversity and a wide range of cultures, it is important to celebrate everyone’s heritage. Recognizing a people who have gone without enough acknowledgement in history books is vital to the representation and inclusion of all of America’s people.