May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

silver chain sculptureIdol (detail), chain sculpture and installation, 2007
by Afruz Amighi, Iranian-American

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

, Adjunct Faculty, Liberal Arts

What Is Urgent for APA Community Now—Messages from Congress:

“This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is unlike any other APAHM we’ve celebrated. While this month is normally a time to celebrate and reflect on the numerous and outstanding contributions Asian American and Pacific Islanders have made throughout our nation’s history, this year, it is filled with heartache, grief, and fear; but it is also filled with energy and fire for our community to come together stronger, united, and backed by allyship.

Since as far back as the 1700s, AAPIs have shaped our infrastructure, built our economy, transformed our culture, and fought to ensure our nation lives out its founding principle, that all individuals are created equal. The legacies of AAPIs have continued to shing despite the struggles against institutionalized discrimination. And yet, generations of Americans in this country have never received a complete teaching of our American history. From the Page Act of 1875 that paved the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act, to the Japanese American internment, to anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents during COVID-19, AAPIs have faced generations of discrimination and hate. In order to build a brighter future where all can have a piece of the American Dream, we have to learn from our shared history.

And so, for this year’s APAHM – it cannot be like all other times we’ve celebrated; instead, let it be a clarion call for our community and our allies to shout out that anti-Asian hate is unequivocally wrong.”

--Congresswoman Grace Meng, First Vice Chair of CAPAC
CAPAC Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Asian American Refers to….

Reference to the broad Asian diaspora as Asian American refers to any peoples descending from the continent of Asia ( archipelago of Pacific Islands including the kingdom of Hawai’I, Melanesia, archipelago of Southeast Asia and occupied Guam and Philippines; the Mongolians and Siberians in North Asia; the South Asian countries of the Ancient Indus River Valley, the Arabic countries of West Asia and the Middle East, the vast terrain of Central Asia, and the East Asian countries of China, Japan & Korea. (see or Asian American Diaspora)

Public Law 102-450 permanently designated May of each year as Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and authorized and requested that the President issue annually a proclamation asking Americans to observe the month Historical May 1869 events include first Japanese immigrant & Golden Spike Day (US Navy).

This May, Asian Americans are galvanizing over the steep rise in hate crimes leveled at APA, spurred by the insidious rhetoric used to associate the outbreak of COVID-19 with Asia, including the reference of COVID-19 as “kung flu,” directly insinuating APA is to blame. In the highly racialized moment of 2020-2021, this rhetoric serves to justify, promote, and exonerate violence and hate aimed at APA.

COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

On April 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, improving hate crime tracking and reporting and providing additional resources to state and local law enforcement to address the alarming surge in anti-Asian violence that has occurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports on rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans:

Stop AAPI Hate – Report a Hate Crime #StopAAPIHate
Stop Asian Hate – Coalition of anti-Asian hate groups staging rallies. #StopAsianHate


AAPI Activist & Community Organizations - Get informed, get involved.

SPEAKOUT- The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture
AMEMSA (Arab Middle Eastern Muslim and South Asian) – Know Your Rights
AANM Solidarity Town Hall
AANM Concert of Colors Forum

also: #AAPI
#Asians4BlackLives @asians4blklives
Asian American activism

To learn more about how to support Asian American women, who have been targeted in some attacks, as evidenced by a mass shooting in Atlanta this March: eight people died, six were Asian American women (coverage).

Resources and support for Asian American women:

AAPI Women Lead @AAPIWomenLead

Of Note in Art, Literature & Politics:
Learn more about Asian American history & cultural experience.

A Dialogue on Racial Melancholia + a 2019 continuation: - Racial Melancholia Racial Dissociation
APA Heritage Month
APA Heritage Month Exhibits and Collections
APA Heritage Month- PBS Special
APA Vocabulary FAQs
Art by Asian Americans
Asian Americans – The Detroit Story
Asian American Artists
Asian Americans in arts and entertainment
Asian Immigration and Yellow Fever
Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Experiencing War - Asian Pacific Americans
In A Racism-Fueled Pandemic, Asian Americans Find Healing Through Art And Storytelling- Huffington Post
Kresge Arts in Detroit - 2020 Kresge Eminent Artist Marie Woo
On View through Oct & Dec 2021 - Arab American National Museum (AANM)
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
Standing Together Against Xenophobia
The Story Behind APA Heritage Month
Tiffany Chung “Vietnam, Past is Prologue” – Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Asian American Experience, Dave Remnick (April 20, 2021)
Virtual Asian American Art Museum
Yasmine Diaz“For Your Eyes Only” on view, essay by Lisa Nazemian.

CCS APA Heritage Month Blog (2020)
Be Inspired by Asian Pacific American Achievements - Learn about APA Heritage Month
Submitted by International Student Services - Office Coordinator Corrin Davis

  • Purpose and History of APA Heritage Month
  • Asian Pacific Americans and the Creative Arts
  • Asian Pacific American history and artists
  • Events, Local News, and Local Resources