Each May we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. These 31 days acknowledge the accomplishments and contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to the United States—and the world—be it through their voices, skills, activism, food, fashion, and music.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by the Congress of the United States to extend Asian American Heritage Week to a month. On May 14, 1991, a public law was passed unanimously by Congress and then signed by Bush, proclaiming May 1991 and May 1992 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months. By 1992, May was officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May is significant to the AAPI community for two reasons. On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States. More than 20 years later, on May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed, a project more than 20,000 Chinese workers participated in.

AAPI Heritage Month is not just for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—it’s a celebration that every American can partake in. The recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans is just another reason why we all need to demonstrate support to the community at this time, and continue to do so every day by showing up for our AAPI neighbors, colleagues, and friends. Join us in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month by exploring AAPI history, culture, and accomplishments.


–Paul Johnson, SWS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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