Celebrating Culture

Jun 01, 2021

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month stemmed from an idea to designate a period to advocate for Asian Americans after there was already designation for their African American and Hispanic Counterparts in the form of Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage week respectively. The originator of the idea was by former Capitol Hill staff Jeanie Jew whose grandfather was one of the Chinese workers who took part in building the transcontinental railroad. She had shared this idea with New York Representative Frank Horton in 1976. The idea would come into fruition in 1978 where they are given the first ten day of May. It would not extend to the full month until George H.W. Bush signed a bill in 1990, it would become Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in 1992.

Why May? This stems from two major reasons, the first is to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad that occurred on May 10 of 1869 and also the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7 of 1843.

Though Anti-Asian hate crimes have always been present in our culture, it has been under-reported due to a multitude of reasons from the severity of the crime, lack of seeking professional help, or language barriers. The crime rate has seen a rise particularly with the rise of the Coronavirus, the rates going into a steep acceleration in the months of March and April of 2020, estimates being from 80% to 235% in certain cities, many people are raising their voices to advocate for the protection of the community. In May 2021, the COVID-19 Hate Crime Bills was passed making accessibility to reporting crimes locally and federally easier with sources in different languages and appointing a point person and programs to expedite, prevent, and respond accordingly.


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