East Hawaii News

May is Celebrated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 2, 2016, 4:06 PM HST
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Students at the Ka Waihona o ka Na’auao Public Charter School perform the hula for U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his visit in Nanakuli, Hawai'i, March 31, 2014. Photo by Eugene Tanner.

Students at the Ka Waihona o ka Na’auao Public Charter School perform the hula for U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his visit in Nanakuli, Hawai’i, March 31, 2014. Photo by Eugene Tanner.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is being recognized and celebrated in May.

In 1978, the observance was first started as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, established through a joint Congressional resolution.

May was the chosen month as it noted two milestones in Asian Pacific American history, including May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States, and May 10, 1969, when the first transcontinental railroad was completed with substantial contribution from Chinese immigrant workers.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Hawai’i Senator Brian Schatz each released statements Monday in recognition of the month.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have built a long legacy of achievements throughout our nation’s history,” said Representative Gabbard. “The exceptional contributions of AAPIs in government, business, military service, culture and arts, technology, sports, education, science, health, and so much more have enriched and strengthened our country.

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“As we celebrate our shared heritage and history this month, we must also honor and continue the tireless work of those who came before us—leaders like Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Daniel Akaka, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink—who broke down barriers, challenged the status quo, and fought to ensure a better future for the next generation.”

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Senator Schatz issued a statement noting that the month is a reminder to honor the deep roots and valuable contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“Their accomplishments in business, science, public service, the armed forces, and the arts help sustain our country’s evolving economy and support global understanding and collaboration,” said Senator Schatz. “In Hawai‘i, Asian American and Pacific Islander traditions are a part of our daily lives, strengthening our communities and making our lives richer and better every day.”

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