Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month

Petelo Tafisi and Cate Love

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. After a year fraught with conflict and hatred directed towards those of AAPI descent, this acknowledgement of heritage is important for both those of AAPI heritage, and those who are not.

Though Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up a significant amount of the US population, as well as the population at East High School, we do not talk about their history nearly as much as we should. Recognizing and celebrating AAPI heritage creates a sense of pride and unity that is important to our school and nation.

In recognition of AAPI Heritage Month, organizations like Equal Opportunity Schools have paid tribute to specific prominent AAPI figures in history, like Patsy Mink, who was the first woman of color to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Other organizations like NASA have paid tribute to all their employees of AAPI descent.

After seeing many brutal attacks against those of AAPI descent in the past year, and highlighting a few of those in the news a few months ago, it is important to not lose the visibility that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has had. With AAPI Heritage Month, we have the opportunity to continue and expand on conversations about AAPI identity and treatment in the United States. We need to use this time to support those in the AAPI community so that they feel safe, respected, and valued, while those of us who are not a part of the AAPI community should learn more about it to be better citizens and allies.

There are many things you can do to support the AAPI community, especially during heritage month. Take the time to learn about the history of the cultures. Make an effort to buy from Asian-owned businesses. There are also many anti-hate organizations that you can donate to, such as Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. As AAPI Heritage Month comes to a close, remember that it is important to offer your support to the AAPI community all year.