SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
History of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The month of May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It’s a celebration of all Asian and Pacific Islanders from places like New Guinea, Fiji, Guam, New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, French Polynesia and more.
What originally started as a one-week observance in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter blossomed into a month-long celebration of all Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Originally, the one-week event was held to commemorate two major historical events — the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
It wasn’t until 1992 when Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Week expanded into a full commemorative month and is now celebrated across the country.
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For National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, what Asian-American or Pacific Islander figure — past or present — should we put a spotlight on? How have they made an impact in your life? Tell us about them.
This project is a part of our newly developed race and culture team. The mission of the Race and Culture team is to consistently serve people who have been historically overlooked or underrepresented in the media by amplifying their voices through authentic representation, community engagement and in-depth storytelling on all platforms. If you have other suggestions or members of the community you'd like us to highlight, please send an email to our race and culture team lead, Kandace Redd, at email@example.com.
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