Celebrating People, History, and Accomplishments
May was chosen as the month to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage to honor the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States (May 7, 1843), and the thousands of Chinese immigrants that built the transcontinental railroad (completed May 10, 1869). First observed as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week” in 1979, the celebration was expanded to a month in the 1990s. It was renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009.
The term “Asian American and Pacific Islander” (AAPI) represents a diverse group of people whose ancestral identities originate from the various cultures of the Asian continent and the Pacific Ocean.