Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
"Asian American and Pacific Islander" encompasses many
ethnic groups with diverse backgrounds, histories, languages, and cultures. The
term attempts to give expression to cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity while
recognizing common historical experiences in American history. Asian American and Pacific Islander
Heritage Month celebrates the collective accomplishments of these communities.
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
10 days of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May
were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American
history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May
7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental
railroad, completed on May 10, 1869.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution declaring May 4-10, 1979, as the
first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush
expanded the celebration to the entire month. Public Law 102-450, approved on October
23, 1992, designated May of each year as National Asian Pacific American Heritage
Month. Presidential Proclamations now identify May of each year as National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
For more information about VA's National Asian American and Pacific Islander Program,
contact the program manager.