By Pauline Fontanaud |Staff Writer|
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. It’s the celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage in the United States.
The month-long celebration recognizes the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans to the cultural heritage of the United States.
Asian-Pacific includes all of the Asian continents and Pacific islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.
President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution declaring the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week in 1978.
In 1990, President George W. Bush signed a bill to extend the Asian-American Heritage week to a month.
Two years later, Congress officially designated May of each year as the Asian-Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month.
The month of May was chosen in honor of the first Japanese people who immigrated to the United States on May 7, 1843.
It also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the people working on the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
There are currently 18.2 million Asians in the U.S.—5.3 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Most live in Hawaii, California, and New York.
The Bureau estimates that by 2050 there will be 40.6 million Asians living in the United States.
The APA Heritage Month is celebrated, among other things, through community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities for students.
This year, the Southern Californian television channel Life Connected is broadcasting a special on the APA Heritage Month on the thematic resilience of the human spirit.