Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. The AAPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. As of 2019, there were about 22.9 million people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the United States.
The month of May was selected for two reasons: first, to commemorate the arrival of the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. on May 7, 1843; second, to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which upwards of 20,000 Chinese workers helped to construct. The month pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have enriched United States history and are instrumental in its future success. To learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander History click here!
Today, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. AAPI Heritage Month celebrates the unique journey of all AAPI immigrants and citizens in the United States and their unique life experiences, traditions and cultures
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed significantly to many facets of American culture and society, including science and medicine, literature and art, sports and recreation, government and politics, and activism and law. In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first Asian American Vice President of the United States. In film history, AAPI people, stories, and traditions have become more visible with South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019 and the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021, debuting Marvel’s first Asian superhero and a favorite rom-com of mine, Crazy Rich Asians.