The Importance of AAPI Month

May 1, 2023 — May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, which is a time to celebrate, honor, and recognize the historical and cultural contributions made to the United States by people of Asian and Pacific Islander decent. The term AAPI includes 75 countries from the Asian continent – East, Southeast, and South Asia – as well as the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.  

The month of recognition began as a week in the 1970s and was officially extended in 1992 to include the entire month, which is apropos, considering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been a part of the American story since the 1800s. May was designated AAPI Month to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in the U.S. in 1843. May was also chosen as way to remember the Chinese immigrants who worked tirelessly to create the first transcontinental railroad in America in May of 1843 and ending in May of 1869.

Chinese immigrants working on the railroad were treated poorly compared to their White counterparts, and this recognition and observance is an important part of AAPI Month. But the month encapsulates more than this portion of the AAPI experience. It is meant to tell the stories of those who identify as AAPI to start conversations and to put faces to the names to break down barriers that might hinder us from truly knowing each other and caring for each other in the best way possible.

AAPI Month celebrates the rich, diverse culture that spans from countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Samoa, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, to name a few.

This month we are honored to tell the stories of people on our campus whose identity stems from the 75 countries included in the AAPI designation. As we celebrate this month, consider taking part in these special AAPI events happening at Dayton Metro libraries to learn more about a variety of foods, cultures, and history of the people who live an AAPI experience in America.


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