Since 1992, the month of May has been celebrated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This was selected to commemorate both the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. in May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad – which was predominantly built by Chinese immigrants – on May 10, 1869.
The theme of this year’s 2022 celebrations is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration”.
- AAPI stands for Asian American and Pacific Islander. The term is used to describe a diverse and fast-growing population of 23 million Americans that includes roughly 50 ethnic groups with roots in more than 40 countries. The AAPI includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
- Asians now make up about 7% of the U.S. nation’s overall population, and their numbers are projected to surpass 46 million by 2060. Asian Americans are the fastest growing group in the U.S.
- More than half of Asians ages 25 and older (54%) have a bachelor’s degree or more education, compared with 33% of the U.S. population in the same age range. Similar shares of U.S.-born (55%) and foreign-born Asians (54%) have earned a college degree. Both figures are substantially higher than the share of all U.S.-born people and all U.S. immigrants with a college degree (32% each).
- In 1964, Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first Asian American woman – and first minority woman – elected to the U.S. Congress. She also went on to become the first Asian American to seek the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, in 1972. In 2002, the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act, which Mink co-authored, was renamed in her honor.
- Amanda N. Nguyen, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is the CEO and founder of Rise, a non-governmental civil rights organization. She is a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Nguyen penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, after having to navigate the broken criminal justice system after her own rape.
- Only 2.4 % of the Fortune 500 CEOs are AAPI. Asian Americans are also underrepresented when it comes to corporate board seats. In 2018, just 19.5% of Fortune 100 companies’ board seats were held by minorities, including Asian Americans.
- Steven Yeun becomes the first Asian-American to be nominated for the 2021 Academy Award for Best Actor for Minari.
- Kamala Harris made history when she was sworn in as the 49th U.S. vice president on January 20, 2021, becoming the first woman, the first Asian American and the first Black American to occupy the office.
How is your organization celebrating AAPI month? If you are looking for more information on AAPI month, or how to celebrate other diversity holiday, contact us today at LetsGo@DiversityCrew.com.
Download the infographic below to share with your organization and community.