Celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Each May, our country celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, honoring the history, culture and contributions of our nation’s more than 18 million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

According to the official Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month website, this commemorative month began with a congressional bill, which was first introduced by Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California in June 1977. They asked that the first 10 days of May be recognized as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.

The following month, Sens. Daniel Inouye and Spark Marsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both of these bills passed.

On Oct. 5, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution designating Asian-Pacific Heritage Week as an annual celebration.

Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush extended the weeklong celebration into a month-long one.  In 1992 Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

Why the month of May? It was chosen to highlight two events in Asian and Pacific Islander history: the commemoration of the first Japanese migration to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, constructed primarily by Chinese immigrants, on May 10, 1869.

This month is an opportunity to celebrate the rich history and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders and to reflect on what is next for this fastest-growing racial group in the United States.

Posted on May 18, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More