AAPI Month: The Celebration and Appreciation of AAPI Cultures

AAPI Month: The Celebration and Appreciation of AAPI Cultures

As we enter May, this month is not only the last couple of weeks for our departing 8th graders but also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

In 1992, President George H. W. Bush established the month of May as AAPI Month to commemorate the first Japanese immigrant to arrive in the US on May 7, 1842, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, in which thousands of Chinese immigrants worked in hazardous conditions for low wages to construct. The month celebrates Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and the ways they helped shape this country with their culture and contributions. So during this month, here are some ideas on how to learn more about these beautiful cultures and how they shaped American society:

1. Immerse yourself in AAPI entertainment. There are movies like “Parasite,” “Train to Busan,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Squid Game,” and many more that are great ways to connect yourself to AAPI culture. You can also watch tv shows and documentaries about Asian/Pacific cultures, read books, and listen to music. Investing in AAPI pop culture is an easy and fun way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month from your home.

2. Try some food from different AAPI cultures. Whether it be cooking it yourself, going to a local restaurant, or even being introduced to it by a friend, tasting new dishes helps us to better connect with these different cultures. And trying them with friends and family makes the experience all the sweeter! Take a look at websites such as Yelp to see local Asian restaurants to try and support.

3. Go explore some AAPI museums, whether that be in person or virtual. Seeing the art, architecture, and history of different cultures in the US is a great way to celebrate and learn about the significance of this month. Plus, it encourages appreciation for our diverse community. Some local museums to visit include the Japanese American National Museum, the Korean American National Museum, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum.

4. Attend festivals and other public events celebrating AAPI Heritage Month in your local area with loved ones. Eating some delicious food, seeing beautiful performances, and immersing yourself in these unique cultures are fun and memorable ways to celebrate. One festival happening this month is the Asian Pacific Food Fest at South Coast Plaza.

5. And finally, support AAPI communities. This can be through supporting a small business or learning how to support Asian/Pacific communities against racism.

During this month, students should take the time to learn about and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. With the significant Asian population at Parks Junior High and this being the last month before the summer, let’s all take a minute to appreciate the contribution the AAPI community has and continues to make in America.