As we journey through Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this May, we celebrate the history, contributions, and achievements of the AAPI community. This year, 2023, is particularly momentous as we remember the events that led to the inception of this important commemoration.
Jeanie Jew, a congressional staffer in the 1970s, was the catalyst for recognizing Asian Pacific Americans in a significant way. Inspired by bicentennial celebrations, she proposed the idea to Representative Frank Horton. In June 1977, Representatives Horton and Norman Y. Mineta introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives to dedicate the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill to the Senate a month later.
May was chosen for two historical milestones: On May 7, 1843, the United States welcomed its first Japanese immigrant, Nakahama Manjirō. And on May 10, 1869, Chinese laborers completed the first transcontinental railroad, symbolized by the driving of the golden spike.
After some legislative hurdles, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution on October 5, 1978, that initiated the commemoration. Later, in 1990, President George H. W. Bush extended Asian-American Heritage Week to a month. President Barack Obama further cemented the tradition by signing Proclamation 8369 in 2009, officially recognizing May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
This month, communities across the nation celebrate the AAPI community’s achievements and contributions through festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational initiatives for students. In particular, the Pasadena/South Pasadena Metro Area is bustling with events and programs.
South Pasadena Main Event May 13th
The City of South Pasadena’s highlight is the SPCC AAPI main event at Garfield Park on May 13th. This event honors and celebrates the diverse Asian and Pacific Islander culture and heritage. All activities are open to the public and free of charge.
As we commemorate AAPI Heritage Month, we not only delve into history but also celebrate the vibrant and diverse cultures that continue to shape and enrich our nation. This month is a testament to the enduring spirit, resilience, and contributions of the AAPI community.
From the SPCC, South Pasadena:
The South Pasadena Chinese-American Club (SPCC) and the City of South Pasadena invite you to join us for a free, fun-filled family event to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at Garfield Park in South Pasadena on Saturday, May 13, from 11 am to 2 pm!
Be enthralled by entertaining performances highlighting different AAPI cultures, ranging from Korean, Tahitian, Cambodian and Bollywood dancers to Japanese taiko drummers, Vietnamese musicians and traditional Chinese lion dancers. Play traditional games and participate in free activities from a variety of AAPI countries, including a special scavenger hunt for kids. Taste mouth-watering foods and street snacks from around the world such as Filipino adobo, Vietnamese pandan coconut waffles, bing fen (a classic dessert from Sichuan China) and many more. Discover local vendors selling unique AAPI inspired fashion, trinkets and household items. Walk through the various booths to learn more about the services offered by the City and the AAPI community.