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Honoring Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

honoring asian american and pacific islander month

The contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to our growing culture and society are invaluable. Recognizing their contributions, we celebrate May as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. We respect the importance of honoring the cultural heritage and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

The History of AAPI Heritage Month

In 1978, Congress passed a joint resolution that established May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month to recognize the impact that people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have had on American society. The significance of selecting May was to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States. May also marks the May 10, 1869, completion of the transcontinental railroad. The railroad could not have been accomplished without the hard work and sacrifices of Chinese immigrant laborers.

Why We Celebrate

AAPI Heritage Month is an important way of spotlighting the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Recognizing the achievements and contributions of the AAPI community is an important way of supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander voices that have helped shape American life. The impact of the community can be recognized through their contributions to science and technology, art, pop culture, music, literature, cuisine, and more.

Ways to Honor and Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

Among the many meaningful ways of celebrating and respecting AAPI Heritage Month are:

  • Learn About AAPI History and Culture: Take the time to educate yourself about the history, experiences, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Read books, watch documentaries, and explore online resources to understand AAPI heritage better.
  • Support AAPI-Owned Businesses: Show your support for AAPI entrepreneurs and businesses by shopping at AAPI-owned establishments, dining at AAPI-owned restaurants, and purchasing products and services from AAPI-owned brands. Patronizing these businesses can help uplift and empower the AAPI community economically.
  • Attend Cultural Events and Festivals: Participate in cultural events, festivals, and celebrations that highlight the diverse traditions and customs of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. These events often feature performances, art exhibitions, culinary demonstrations, and other activities that showcase AAPI culture.
  • Engage in Dialogue and Advocacy: Engage in meaningful dialogue about issues affecting the AAPI community, such as discrimination, xenophobia, and social justice. Advocate for policies and initiatives that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion for all individuals, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
  • Celebrate AAPI Achievements: Take the time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of AAPI individuals in your community, workplace, and beyond. Recognize their accomplishments and amplify their voices to ensure they receive the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

Health Disparities Among Asian Americans

Part of celebrating the AAPI community involves recognizing the ongoing struggles of that community, including the health disparities that affect them. Health disparities among Asian Americans stem from diverse cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, leading to challenges in accessing healthcare services tailored to their needs. Many face barriers in navigating the healthcare system and seeking culturally competent care, contributing to lower rates of preventive screenings and mental health utilization. Specific subsets, like South Asians, are at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases due to genetic and lifestyle factors.

Addressing these disparities requires culturally sensitive approaches, improved language access, and community engagement to ensure equitable healthcare delivery. Increased awareness and targeted interventions are essential to mitigate health inequities and improve outcomes for Asian American populations.

Our Commitment to AAPI Heritage

This Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, our agency reaffirms its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We celebrate the rich cultural heritage and invaluable contributions of AAPI individuals and strive to foster an environment of respect, understanding, and appreciation for all. Connect with your local agents for information on addressing health disparities among members of the AAPI community and other ways of helping.

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