May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. During this time, it is important to celebrate the incredible cultural and historical contributions of those who are of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States.
Observing AAPI Heritage Month
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed in many profound ways to American culture and society. From literature and art to government and politics, AAPI people have long been part of American culture. This rapidly growing racial group is woven into the fabric of this country, which is why it is important to take the time to recognize their unique and positive impact on the culture at large.
History of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
AAPI Heritage Month began in 1978, originating as a week-long celebration of Asian American history. Many years later, in 1992, this week-long celebration extended throughout the entire month of May. Throughout the month, it is time to honor and understand the contributions of members of our communities of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent.
To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month this coming May, here are some options:
- Learn more about AAPI history: There is much to learn about AAPI history and plenty of resources available that can help you dive in and explore. PBS, for example, has a documentary series that delivers a unique take on AAPI history told through personal stories.
- Read literature that is connected to AAPI communities: With the internet, the world is at our fingertips, so use this vast resource to look up books that have ties to the AAPI community.
- Support AAPI communities: In recent years, it has been sad to see an alarming increase in anti-Asian racism. Support your Asian American neighbors through organizations like the Asian American Alliance.
- Explore AAPI culinary culture: Look into experimenting with AAPI cuisine. To do so, you could purchase your ingredients from local grocery stores that are AAPI-owned or, if you are unsure where to start, visit a local restaurant to enjoy the flavors of these unique cultures.
As you celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, be sure to include your friends and family, so they can enjoy a new tradition. These actions help advocate inclusion and support for the AAPI communities in your area.
Although AAPI Heritage Month only lasts throughout May, it is important to always speak out against discrimination, hatred, and bias. Take what you learn this May and continue to build on it throughout the year and in all the years ahead. Most importantly, do not forget your AAPI neighbors and by visiting local restaurants, shops, and the vast range of other AAPI businesses in your community.
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