Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Throughout the month of May, see, hear, and participate in a celebration filled with movies, lectures, tours, demonstrations, and art installations. Check out the details of some of our past APAH month celebrations.
Origins of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
On Oct. 2, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution and the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was established in May 1979 to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Asian Pacific Americans.
This initiative was pioneered by Jeanie Jew in the 1970's when she realized that Asian Pacific Americans were ignored even though they were part of building this country. She championed the establishment of an Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. A year later, with the support of Rep. Frank Horton (R-NY), Rep. Norman Mineta, (D-CA) and senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga, the first ten days of May were legislated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.
In 1992, President George Bush signed the law permanently designating May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Freedom For All, A Nation We Call Our Own is this year's theme for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration.
Two significant events in history took place in May:
- Japanese immigrants first arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843, and
- The transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day).