By Woohyun Song
PLACENTIA, CA – May is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (formerly Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in 2009), which celebrates and recognizes the cultural and historical effects and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. According to a recent study by CSUSB (California State University, San Bernardino), anti-Asian hate crime has increased by 150%. With this rise in Asian American crimes in the United States, various media outlets have increased their focus this month on celebrating the heritage of these peoples this month because of this.
According to AsianPacificHeritage.gov, although a period of time designated for these ethnic groups was initially proposed by former congressional staffer Jeanie Jew in the 1970s, this action was later introduced as a bill into the United States House of Representatives by Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Y. Mineta. In this bill, the first ten days of May were to be designated as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. On October 5th, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for this event.
This was proposed to be in May as the first documented Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States on May 7th, 1843; as well as due to May 10th,1869 when the golden spike was driven into the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was a project that heavily relied on Chinese labor.
Besides this, Asian Americans have been in deep involvement with not only the United States as a country but also the physical land and continent that the United States borders include even before its independence. From the first arrival of the Filipinos in 1587, the Indians in 1635, the Chinese in 1778, Native Hawaiians in 1788, the Japanese in 1806, the Koreans in 1884, the Vietnamese in 1912, among many other ethnicities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been closely involved in the growth and development of the land that we call the United States today.
Many aspects of Asian American and Pacific Islander Culture are embedded into the collective culture of the United States, from the food, to cities, and even close-by neighborhoods all across the country. During this time of both global domestic unrest, a collective effort must be made to not only stand with your friends and family, but also to the millions who are struggling globally right now.