The month of May is traditionally a time to celebrate, recognize and pay tribute to the Asian Pacific American Heritage people who have enriched our country’s history and culture.
When you look at the histories of these cultures in America, you learn that many of them faced racism, colonialism, and horrific acts of violence t simply because of their cultural identities. It’s important that we remember and recognize this as well. Unfortunately, the previous occupant of the White House used the COVID-19 virus to aggravate Asian relations within the United States, which has caused additional tension resulting in anti-Asian sentiment.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month began back in 1978 when a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.
In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.
Asian and Pacific Islander cultures are tough to encapsulate in a brief message such as this one, firstly because those two terms include such a large and diverse pool of people. The term “Asian American” alone encompasses a broad array of cultural backgrounds as well, including Bangladeshi, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai and Vietnamese.
When you add Pacific Islander Americans to that list, then you also add many more regions with rich histories and cultures, including Hawaiian, Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian.
This May, during Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we recognize the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) across our nation.
While many AANHPI communities will be celebrating in more traditional ways, many in the Chinese community will be hosting or writing about anti-Asian racial topics, a few of which are in this May issue of China Insight. Also included are articles about Chinese American Veterans of World II.
As usual, China Insight would like to extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to contribute articles for our consideration. It can be on any topic that has a China connection, whether it be history, culture, business, travel, arts, food or whatever. We would love to have you join us as a volunteer contributor, so please feel free to contact Elaine Dunn or me with any ideas you may have.
The staff of China Insight would also like to honor all mothers as they get a special day on May 9, so don’t forget to recognize your mother for all that she does.
Finally, Memorial Day is celebrated on Monday, May 31. That is a day in the U.S. when tribute is paid to the fallen men and women who served in the U.S. armed services. This is a day for all of us to pay homage to the soldiers who died to protect their nation and its people so that we can enjoy the freedom we have.
As always, thank you for reading China Insight and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestions as to how we can continue to serve the community, or wish to contribute an article for us to share with our readers.