Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Airman Monica De La Madrid
  • 90th Operations Group
The month of May brings many things; flowers, sunshine and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Unfortunately Asian Pacific American Heritage Month often seems overlooked in comparison to other cultural observation months. The 90th Operations Group is putting together an event open to all military members and their families to commemorate Asian Pacific American culture. This event will include several different types of Asian cuisine, live cultural dances and other events representing Asian Pacific heritage.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month was started by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. President Carter pushed Congress to pass the Congressional Resolution, which declared the first week of May to recognize Asian Pacific American Heritage. May was chosen because of two central events: May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrants' arrival on American soil; and on May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed, mainly worked on by Chinese immigrants.

Many Japanese wished to immigrate to the United States seeking employment. The Scioto set sail from Yokohama to Hawaii, carrying more than 150 Japanese immigrants to work for sugar plants. This was the beginning of the migration of Japanese overseas. Between 1886 and 1911, more than 400,000 men and women left Japan for the United States.

The transcontinental railroad was developed to connect the United States from the East Coast to the West Coast. To assist the completion of this railroad, the Central Pacific gained help from Chinese-American communities. The work was extremely difficult and only paid eighty cents to a dollar a day. They were required to supply their own living quarters, usually tents, and meals. Though these conditions were unbelievably horrific, Chinese-Americans persevered and were a major part of the completion of the transcontinental railway.

In 1990, President Gorge H. W. Bush wanted to further dedicate the celebration for Asian Pacific Americans by changing it from a week to an entire month. May 1992 was the first official Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

Please take the time to recognize Asian Pacific Americans for all of the accomplishments they have achieved. The event will be held in the Fall Hall Community Center May 30 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.