Thursday, May 4, 2006

Happy Asian Pacific American Hertiage Month!

You know, I've known the month of May to be APA Heritage Month for, like, forever. But how did it come about? I found some great historical background about our month to share with you, thanks to the fabulous omniscient world wide web.

May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Much like Black History or Women's History celebrations, APA Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill.

In June 1977, Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed.

On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. In May 1990, the holiday was expanded further when President George H.W. Bush designated May to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

This year's theme is "Freedom for All—A Nation We Call Our Own."

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