By Olivia Frymark
Each May, the United States celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month to honor the many Asian Pacific Americans and their contributions to our country’s rich history.
This past year has highlighted the work that still needs to be done to address the racial bias and equity issues in our country. Since the pandemic began, racism and violence against the AAPI community have also greatly increased. Together, we believe it’s our responsibility to condemn hate and learn about what makes each of our differing backgrounds special and unique. This May and beyond, VIDA is proud to recognize and highlight the entire AAPI community!
AAPI encompasses heritages across Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 1997, The United States began recognizing these racial groups individually to further acknowledge and appreciate the ethnic backgrounds that comprise Americans. Today, Asian Americans have origins from Eastern, South Central, Southeastern, and Western Asia. Pacific Islanders have origins from Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.
Congress established AAPI Heritage Month in May to recognize the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of workers who laid the tracks for our nation’s railroad were Chinese Immigrants.
This May, there are many different things we can do to celebrate AAPI heritage. As one of the fastest growing demographics in America, there is a breadth of information to learn about AAPI culture. Read about different community histories, folklore, and traditions. Make and eat food from a new culture. Learn the history behind your recipe. Watch a documentary about AAPI culture or a movie with lead AAPI representation. Support an AAPI owned business. Explore new artists or musicians. Visit a museum – in person or online! Attend community events, sign petitions, or, if you can, donate to an organization you know is trying to make a positive social impact in an AAPI community.
At VIDA, we celebrate our differences and want all people to feel safe, welcomed, and valued. We encourage our community members to share their experiences small and large, continually educate themselves on racial bias, speak out against hate and celebrate diversity.
So please join us for a special class at your favorite VIDA club:
Stay tuned for additional information and AAPI Month events we will be having throughout the month of May!