2022 AAPI Heritage Month

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month honors the enduring legacy of Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans. It celebrates their significant contributions in literature, history, the arts, culture, film, and leadership. Asian American Pacific Islanders lead many communities in education, medicine, finance, government, and international trade.

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month occurs every May in the United States. It recognizes our communities within the country’s 22.2 million Asians and 1.6 million Native Hawaiin and other Pacific Islander communities. When many think of AAPI communities, they think of people from or who have descended from South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia, and the Pacific Islands. However, AAPI also includes West and Southwest Asia (commonly referred to as the Middle East in the U.S.).

To join us in celebrating AAPI heritage Month, click here to learn more about Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage.

AAPI Heritage Month, formerly Asian Pacific American Heritage Month until 2009, originated in 1992 when New York Congressmen Frank Hortin introduced the bill for the month of May to receive that designation. At the time, celebrations of Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage were already in place. President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month in 1976 to become a national observance. Hispanic Heritage Week was designated as a national celebration by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.

The May celebration includes all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island).

Legislators chose May for two reasons: First, to commemorate the arrival of the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. on May 7, 1843; secondly, to honor the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which upwards of 20,000 Chinese workers helped to construct. The month pays tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders that have enriched the United State’s history and are instrumental in its future success.