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May is AANHPI Heritage Month

Monday May 1st, 2023

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


In 1978, House Joint Resolution 1007 requested that President Jimmy Carter designate May 4-10 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Lawmakers chose May because of its historical significance for the Japanese and Chinese communities. For the next ten years, subsequent presidents issued similar proclamations. In 1990, Congress and President George H.W. Bush extended the week into a full month. Two years later, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which authorized the annual commemoration.  President Obama and President Biden both adjusted the name of the celebration and since 2021, it has been known as Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.

In addition to Native Hawaiians, the term AANHPI includes nearly 50 distinct ethnic groups who speak over 100 languages. These groups trace their ancestry to East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia. Micronesia and Polynesia. According to the United States Census Bureau, Asian Americans make up the largest part of the AANHPI population with 24 million people. More than half of these individuals are of Chinese, Asian Indian or Filipino descent. The Bureau also reports that about 1.7 million Americans identify as having Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan or another Pacific Islander heritage.

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And while this month is primarily a celebration of heritage, we cannot do so without acknowledging history. As President Jimmy Carter said in his original proclamation, we have not always fully appreciated the significant role AANHPI Americans have played in the “creation of a dynamic and pluralistic America, with their enormous contributions to our science, arts, industry, government and commerce.” These contributions, historical events, and especially the atrocities involving people of AANHPI descent cannot be forgotten.

Here are some ways that The Library can help you learn about, appreciate and celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month: 

For more information related to AANHPI Heritage Month, visit the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month website. Here you will find links to collections curated by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  


Submitted by Lynette, Information Services Assistant


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The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >