Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

MTSD Equity Practices: Asian American and Pacific Islander

  • As we continue to embrace and celebrate diversity, the month of May is a time to specifically celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage.  This commemorative month began in the mid-1970s, when congressional staffer Jeanie F. Jew, was frustrated with the fact that Asian Pacific Americans were not being included in the country’s Bicentennial celebrations.  In the late 1970s, two bills made it through the Congressional process.  Both bills selected the week of May 4th because of two significant historical events that took place during that period: the arrival date of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States recorded on May 7, 1843, and the date of completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869.

    On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution into law which proclaimed the week of May 4-11 Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.  However, it took more than 10 years until the single week celebration was extended to become  Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when on May 7, 1990, President George W. Bush signed it into law.  During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, you are encouraged to elevate the stories, contributions, and experiences of the Asian American community.

    Please explore the links below to learn more about the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and locate resources to share this history and experience with our students:

    Online Guide 2021 - Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islanders

    Selected Resources for Teachers 

    (Explore the Resources of the National Archives)

    Epic Books: Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage

    Smithsonian - Standing Together Against Hate


    31 Ways to Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month (Interactive Calendar)