May has been designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Across the nation, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders contribute to a rich and deeply rooted heritage.

Whether speaking to first, second, third, or fourth-generation immigrants, their impact is powerful and inspiring. From migrant laborers to inventive trailblazers, the month is a time to acknowledge their hardships, culture, achievements, and beliefs.

HOW TO OBSERVE #AsianAmericanAndPacificIsanderMonth

  • During the month, attend celebrations and special exhibits taking place at museums, libraries, and universities across the country.
  • Get reading about Polynesian history and the Aloha State.
  • Watch a documentary about the transcontinental railroad. Learn about the working conditions for many Asian Americans.
  • Take a class in Japanese Washi papermaking.
  • Learn to make Pho.

Use #AsianAmericanAndPacificIslanderMonth to share on social media.


Congress first passed a joint resolution in 1978 authorizing the President to proclaim a week-long celebration of Asian and Pacific American heritage. President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation took place on March 28, 1979, and the first Asian and Pacific American Heritage week took place the week of May 4, 1979.

In 1990, the proclamations expanded to a month-long observance. In 1992, Congress passed legislation recognizing the previous proclamations and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and annual designation in May.

President Obama’s proclamation in 2009 expanded the observance to include Pacific Islanders.

For a complete history and access to proclamations, visit

If you enjoy exploring history and heritage, check out these other celebrations:

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