Blog post by the AAPI team - Janine, Julia, & Noelle
What is AAPI Heritage Month?
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month takes place in May and is an annual celebration of the contributions and culture of all Americans who are of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent. The idea of an AAPI Heritage Week was first introduced in 1977, but it was not until 1978 that this recognition would get ratified by the United States government. It took an additional 14 years for the celebration to expand from the initial 10 days into a full month, with Congress finally signing AAPI Heritage Month into law in the year 1992.
Why was May chosen as AAPI Heritage Month? It is largely because of two important dates in AAPI history:
May 7, 1843: The date of the first arrival of Japanese immigrants to the United States
May 10, 1869: The date of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which would not have been possible without the work of Chinese immigrants.
While these dates recognize the specific contributions of Japanese and Chinese Americans, it is important to celebrate the accomplishments of Asian American and Pacific Islanders of all backgrounds during this month! We all have important history to share, and every member of the AAPI community has contributed to help make the United States a more culturally rich and diverse country.
Want to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month? Below are some ideas for how you can participate!
- Attend a virtual bystander intervention training and help stop anti-AAPI harassment through Right to Be
- Read conversations happening about the effects of the terms API, APA, and AAPI, to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI)
- Support AAPI charities during the month of May – Here are some ideas for charities that are local to the San Francisco Bay Area!
- Visit the Asian Art Museum with a Discover and Go pass and browse their collections covering different Asian cultures. The Asian Art Museum also hosts many events for AAPI Heritage Month, so don’t forget to check out their calendar!
- Attend one of our virtual bilingual story times with your preschooler! Check our events calendar for upcoming story times.
- Learn about the history of environmental justice advocacy by Bay Area AAPI communities through the work of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
- Browse through UC Berkeley’s Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies subject guide to learn about different AAPI community organizations and advocacy groups in the Bay Area.
- Try out a new AAPI recipe or support a local AAPI owned restaurant! Want ideas for delicious foods to try? Check out the food related book list below, and check our other blog post featuring some of AC Library staff’s favorite AAPI foods!
Check out these staff-created booklists for recommended AAPI reads!
Start May off right by getting lost in an #OwnVoices YA title by authors from the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This list has graphic novels, fantasy, and realistic fiction; something for everyone!
These stories and voices are those I wish I could have read growing up as an Asian American.
From food trucks to farmer's market stalls, what's not to love about portable, tasty, street food? Whether you want your own Taco Tuesday or are craving something more adventurous, bring the taste of roadside restaurants to your table with the help of these cookbooks.
Mercer, M. (2021, May 24). Understanding Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Q&A with Texas A&M Professor Vanita Reddy. Texas A&M Today. (link)
History.com Editors. (2022, April 5). Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. History. (link)