I know that May is almost over, but I still want to take the time to recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). I didn’t want to rush this post, and I wanted to make sure I did it right, even if that meant that it would come out halfway through the month. I am Asian American, but before this year I didn’t know what APAHM was. Of course, I was aware of it, but I never really took the time to read into the history of how different cultures celebrate it. This post is going to go over the general information about APAHM and what it’s history and purpose is.
image via TIME magazine
overview. May was officially declared Asian Pacific American heritage month, in 1992 in congress, however, it was an idea as early as 1977. May was chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants who came to America and the transcontinental railroad mainly built by Chinese immigrants in 1869.
what does it mean to be asian or pacific islander american? Sometimes I find the term “Asian” restricting or I notice that not a lot of people are aware of how encompassing the identification is. Asian, in the broad sense of the word, means people from the continent of Asia. However, this day not only celebrates that definition of the word but also Pacific Islanders, like people from Hawaii or the Philippines. I recommend reading this article, which I found very interesting and enlightening in regards to this topic.
i’m asian american. Like I already said, I’m South Asian American. I’m going to do a whole other post on what it’s like to be Asian in America, but that’s for another day. The main reason I’m pointing this out is that I do care about this month, and I wanted to make sure people were aware that this part of my identity is contributing to this post and its goals.
the purpose. The overall goal is to remember the roles that Asians have had in American history and all of the contributions and achievements of them. It’s also meant to raise awareness of Asian cultures and the people in general. Like I said in my overview of the month, it commemorates some important events in our history. But the main point is that America is a country of immigrants, and by having a month celebrating an important facet of the country’s diversity, we are acknowledging the roots of the nation.
how to properly celebrate respectfully. Although this month is meant to recognize the asian and pacific islander Americans, it’s important that everyone participates. Whether you read a book highlighting Asian culture or you try new food, you can take part in this month. It is important to remain respectful and appropriate though, which for some can be very hard, especially if you aren’t aware of it. That’s the whole point of this post though, to make sure you are aware of this and are actively moving towards getting rid of any ignorance ( I am too). This article highlights some ways you can do this and I will be doing some posts in the future on this topic as well.
quick tie to the coronavirus. If you are not aware, the coronavirus has sparked a lot of racism towards asians. I just wanted to mention it in this post because I think although it’s always important to be aware and respectful, this month more important than ever.
Feel free to leave a comment about how you’re celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month or how you feel about it! Here’s my Instagram where I have posted some more information on the month (depending on when you read this).
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