Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Capt. Sonny Lovejoy
  • 93rd Air Refueling Squadron
Ever wonder how "Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month" came about or why we observe it in May? Well, with a few clicks of the mouse and a high-speed internet connection, I have found the answers for you.

Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month came to fruition in 1990 by President George H. Bush who designated May as the month of observance. Prior to that, two bills passed through the House and Senate. In 1977 instigated by Jeanie Jew, two Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California pushed a bill through the House to celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage the first 10 days of May. In the Senate a month later, Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga passed a similar bill. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the joint resolution making it an annual commemoration. The first 10 days were chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States (May 7, 1843) and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 10, 1869, also known as "Golden Spike day") whose workers were mostly Chinese. It wasn't until 12 years later that it was expanded to the entire month and then it wasn't until 1992 it was made into Law.

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month should not only be used to celebrate passed achievements. The month of May was also chosen as the month of commemoration because school is still in session. It is an opportunity for educators to diversify their subject matter and educate our future achievers about Asian-Pacific American's contributions to our great nation; this was Jeanie Jew's original intent.