To know a people, know their stories.

Let’s continue to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May and every day with these collections of stories that explore the history, traditions and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans. 

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific Islander encompasses the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

On October 5, 1978, the House of Representatives, the Senate and President Jimmy Carter signed the law which directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.” In 1992, Congress annually designated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009.

May was chosen as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to commemorate:

  • The immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843.
  • The anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the labor in laying the railroad tracks was accomplished by immigrants from China.

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