Honoring AAPINH Contributions
May is AAPINH Heritage Month!
We’re so excited to be celebrating Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AAPINH) Heritage this May! For hundreds of years, the contributions of these diverse populations have built and elevated our country. Let’s take this month to honor our amazing AAPINH community and recognize the incredible impact they have had on our lives.
The first week of May was originally chosen to honor the impact of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7th, 1843, and the Chinese laborers who completed the construction of the transcontinental railroad on May 10th, 1869. In 1978, it shifted to a commemorative week, was designated Asian/Pacific Heritage Month in 1992, and was renamed AAPI Heritage Month in 2009. Forty-five years after that first commemorative week in 1978, we honor their courage and determination every year for a full month!
We salute the inspiring and diverse contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians to every facet of American culture and society. From science and medicine to literature, art, sports, and recreation, these resilient communities have had a positive impact in many areas including government and activism. Here in New Mexico, the AAPINH populations are rapidly growing – between 2010 and 2020 they increased by more than 34% and 75%, respectively.
New Mexico is proud to be home to a vibrant and diverse population of AAPINHs. Since their arrival in the 1800s, AAPINHs have been making valuable contributions to New Mexico’s economy through labor, industry, businesses, and purchasing power. Moreover, they have enriched our state with their unique cultures, customs, histories, and languages. There are currently over 30 distinct ethnic groups represented among AAPINHs in New Mexico, more than 20 languages spoken and over 40 organizations offering support.
2023 saw the establishment of AAPINH Day in New Mexico, formally in statute – observed on the first Tuesday of February in odd-numbered years – in recognition of their immense impact on our state. We are proud to honor past, present, and future generations as well as those who identify with or can trace their roots to Asia.
Celebrate the amazing contributions of AAPINHs in New Mexico this May and all year long! Explore their history, attend events, show your support by shopping at businesses they own, listen to authors and creators with an Asian/Pacific Islander background, and watch movies with them as cast or crew members–you can even give Asian cuisine a try! Follow AAPINH activists, leaders, and educators online and make sure to learn their names correctly. Most importantly, don’t forget to get involved in stopping violence against Asian/Pacific Islander communities (https://stopaapihate.org)
Join us in highlighting this important month with the Federal Asian Pacific American Council’s selection for its 2023 theme: Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity. Let’s elevate AAPINH voices and cultivate leaders today to create a powerfully diverse, inclusive tomorrow.
Great resource: https://www.pbs.org/show/a-peoples-history-of-asian-america/