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May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month takes place every May in the United States and recognizes the diverse communities within the country’s 22.2 million Asians and 1.6 million Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. AAPI countries of origin stretch from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in the west; China, Japan, and Korea in the north; and Indonesia, the Philippines, Hawai‘i, and many more island states in the east—a truly vast swathe of the globe and representing some of the most ancient cultures in the world.

AAPI Heritage Month, formerly Asian Pacific American Heritage Month until 2009, originated in 1992 when then New York Congressmen Frank Hortin introduced the bill that called for the month of May to receive that designation, which came from the idea of former Capitol Hill staffer Jeanie Jew in the 1970s. AAPI Heritage Month seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the millions of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry. Sadly, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened hate groups to spread anti-AAPI prejudice, making it even more important to counter the violence and bigotry by highlighting the many contributions Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have made and continue to make to every aspect of society. Learn more about this vibrant, diverse community, starting with a page of interesting statistics about Asian American-Pacific Islanders the U.S. Census has put together. The AAPI Data Web site has more interesting statistics and links to follow. You can find a short lists of famous LGBTQ AAPI people from around the world here and here, as an introduction to the larger community.

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