AAPI Heritage Month is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States.
AAPI is an umbrella term that includes over 100 languages in addition to English, and includes nearly 50 ethnic groups from East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Pacific Islands. Some people resonate with the term AAPI, while others may choose to identify more specifically or broadly like “Korean American,” “of Asian descent,” or “Asian American.” The most important thing is to approach the subject of cultural identity and history with openness and curiosity with the intention of self-education.
The effort to officially recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to the United States began in the late 1970s, and took more than 10 years to make it a permanent month-long celebration. President Jimmy Carter signed it into Law on October 5, 1978. From 1980 to 1990, each president passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, Congress expanded the observance from a week to a month.
May was annually designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in 1992 under the George H. W. Bush administration. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was renamed as AAPI Heritage Month in 2009. AAPI Heritage Month falls in May because of the 1843 arrival of the first Japanese immigrants, and Chinese laborers’ enormous contributions to building the transcontinental railroad, which was finished in May 1869.