Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated annually in May in the United States to highlight the history, heritage, and contributions of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) communities.
May was established as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to coincide with two key milestones: the arrival of the nation’s first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and Chinese workers’ pivotal role in building the transcontinental railroad (completed May 10, 1869). In 2021, a presidential proclamation expanded this to include Native Hawaiians.
There are many ways you can learn more about and celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. AAPIs play a large role in the history of the United States. Contributing to stronger societies as individuals and as a group, their ancestry tracks back to continental Asia (the Middle East, East Asia and Southeast Asia) and the Pacific Islands (Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia). The contributions of the AAPI community are vast, from art to infrastructure to politics, and much more. There are an estimated 24 million AAPI residents in the United States as shown in the 2021 census.
In April we recognized the pay disparity amount Asian American and Pacific Islander Women. It took until April 5, 2023 for AAPI women’s earnings to finally “catch up” to what white, non-Hispanic men made the previous year. On average, AAPI women earn only 80 cents for every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men make.
Today, sadly we are still fighting for equal rights for the AAPI community and that is why the IAM stands and fights for solidarity and unity not only in the workplace but in the community as well. We stand together with our brothers and sisters and call for an end to social injustice. The IAM works with constituency groups like Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) to help ensure that not only the rights of Asian and Pacific Americans are being met—in both the workplace and in society at large—but also that all injustice and social inequality are being challenged. To learn more about APALA, visit their website at https://www.apalanet.org/.
For events or more information on how to celebrate AAPI Month visit the Federal Asian Pacific American Council.