Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

By Lisa McGloiry

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which recognizes the many contributions and achievements of the 18.9 million Asian Americans who live in the United States. American Asian’s are one of the fastest-growing racial groups in our nation and this diverse community can be traced to more than 20 countries in East, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Asian culture has always been part of the rich history, fabric and infrastructure of America. This is reflected in the art, architecture, cuisine, education, economics, law, lifestyle, literature, medicine, music, philosophy, religion, technology, and so much. Celebrate APAH Month and explore the rich history, arts and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders today. Click here.
And yet, the representations of Asians in this country are sometimes painfully reduced to several racial stereotypes that categorize them as a monolithic group that looks the same and has similar experiences. This includes narratives such as the “Model Minority” myth and the return of “Yellow Peril” anti-Chinese sentiment that has resurged during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This past year anti-Asian racism has risen in America, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. This most likely was attributed to the prejudicial belief that Asians were responsible for the Coronavirus, which has fueled anti-Asian and xenophobia in America at an alarming rate.

According to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, over 6,000 anti-Asian incidents happened in the past 12 months, including workplace discriminatory practices and violent acts on public streets, online, and in parks. Media reports also indicate that Asian women typically experience 2.3 times more hate incidents than their male counterparts. National trends also show that the Chinese experience the most violent acts, followed by Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos.

One crime, in particular, garnered national attention on March 16, 2021. Eight innocent people, including six Asian women in a suburb of Atlanta, lost their lives at the hands of an active shooter. While our nation mourned, demonstrators across the country rallied for the end to anti-Asian racism and violence.
In response to the increase in violence and hate crimes against Asian-Americans, President Joe Biden signed the bi-partisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill into law in May of this year. This Act is designed to deter Anti-Asian violence and hate crimes to advance inclusion, safety, and reporting measures at the federal, state, and local levels.
As Americans, we have a duty to stop anti-Asian violence and crimes. Here are seven things you can do today to intentionally show your support and take action toward this effort.

  1. Learn more about the Asian influence on America’s culture and the exclusion of the Asian American story in America’s school system.
  2. Remove any blind spots. Racism against Asian Americans does exist.
  3. Start a conversation and learn someone’s personal story. Listen and engage in meaningful dialogue.
  4. Speak up against Asian prejudice and racism. Stop the silence.
  5. Report any crimes.
  6. Pray for Asian communities in your area.
  7. Lend your voice to stop anti-Asian racism and violence by supporting the following Asian American Pacific Islander organizations and GoFundMe efforts.

Image: courtesy of Jason Leung