May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Awareness Month & Asian Heritage Month

Whether you’re in the United States or Canada, May is a time to celebrate the incredible contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Canadians and Pacific Islander Americans and Canadians to the history, culture, and achievements of our countries.

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PSG Central / West EDI Council

We are proud to acknowledge and celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! The Government of Canada officially declared May as Asian Heritage Month in 2002, but it has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. This includes East Asia, Southern Asia, Western, Central and Southeast Asia.

This is a time to reflect on and recognize the many contributions that Canadians of Asian and Pacific Island heritage have made and continue to make to Canada.


Our team is excited to present the first of two features for the month of May:  Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The first official government recognition began in 1978 as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week and was later passed into law, in 1992, as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

There are 48 countries in the continent of Asia and 15 countries considered to be part of the Pacific Islands…. What a variety of culture, art, literature, food, music and people!   So many contributions from Asia and the Pacific Islands are part of our everyday lives in the United States. Learn more: Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Were you aware that Asian makes up more than 45 countries?

Want to share your Asia and Pacific Island experiences with the PSG Family? Watch for an upcoming email for you chance to do just that.

Also watch for our upcoming Get to Know Me feature: Tanapat Dangmeon. He will share more about his Thai and Chinese family history, interesting information about himself and hopefully a few tips on cooking some of the amazing foods he posts on Facebook (if you’re not his friend… you should be!).

Here’s what you need to know about AAPI Heritage Month

May is a month worth celebrating for a lot of reasons, including AAPI Heritage Month, which puts a spotlight on Asian American and Pacific Islander families and communities.

AAPI stands for “Asian American, Pacific Islander,” a distinction representing those whose ancestry and culture come from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of the Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia regions.

As of 2019 there were more than 19.5 million Asian Americans in the U.S. and they are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the country according to Pew Research Center analysis.

There’s a lot of diversity of nationalities and ethnicities within that “AAPI” label, which is why not everyone agrees on it.

For example, people who are Hmong, Indian, Samoan, Vietnamese, or Filipino each bring their own unique lived experiences to the table.

On one hand, the Smithsonian details how solidarity among Asians, especially since the 1960s, has led to increased visibility. The term “Asian American” unified multiple communities in a new and productive way, underscoring their shared American identity and rejecting the otherness implied by the term “oriental,” which was common at the time.

However, even with the benefits of presenting a unified front, there’s concern that the unique traits and needs of some groups are minimized when lumped together.

Pew Research shows that although Asians are the highest-earning minority group overall, that ignores the huge income disparities within that category. As of 2018, the top 10% of Asian earners made nearly 11 times more than Asians in the bottom 10%. There are also big differences in education, health and wellness outcomes, and of course, culture and values.

Asian American Heritage Month is a chance to share and celebrate this diversity, as well as commonalities.

The month of celebration began in the 90s. After three years of proclaiming May as AAPI Heritage Month by way of annual presidential proclamations, a 1992 Act of Congress put it on the calendar permanently. The act aimed to recognize that “Asian and Pacific Americans have contributed significantly to the development of the arts, sciences, government, military, commerce, and education in the United States.”

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