May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. AAPI Heritage commemoration was first proposed in 1977 to observe the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States (May 7, 1843), and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, constructed mainly by Chinese immigrant workers (May 10, 1869). In 1978, President Carter made it an annual week-long event and President George H.W. Bush extended the proclamation to include the entire month of May.
The national AANHPI Heritage Month theme, “Building Legacy Together: Our Communities’ Journey of Strength and Resilience” pays tribute to generations of AA and NHPIs who paved the way for greater opportunity for their communities and strengthened the fabric of our nation.
USDA FPAC and the Civil Rights Division invite you to celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month throughout May 2022. This year’s FPAC theme is “Cultivating Togetherness through Peace, Food, and Wellness.” Although Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs) have contributed significantly to American culture and society, this year we will explore and highlight the accomplishments and contributions AA and NHPIs have had to culture, cuisine, and well-being.
An Asian American is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of East Asia, Southeast Asia, or South Asia, the Indian subcontinent (Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam). A Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Oceania. Oceania is comprised of three major island groups: Polynesia (New Zealand, Easter Island, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands and French Polynesia), Micronesia (Guam, Palau, Marianas, Wake Island, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Melanesia (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, West Papua, and New Guinea). The term "Native Hawaiian" does not include individuals who are native to the State of Hawaii by virtue of being born there.
Census Quick Facts
- 24 million - the Asian-American population of the United States in 2020.
- 5.1 million - The estimated number of the Asian alone or in combination population of Chinese, except Taiwanese, descent in the United States in 2020. The Chinese (except Taiwanese) population was the largest Asian group, followed by Asian Indian (4.5 million), Filipino (4.1 million), Vietnamese (2.2 million), Korean (1.9 million) and Japanese (1.6 million).
- 1.6 million - The estimated number of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population of the United States in 2020.
- 2.5% - The percentage of Asian alone-or-in-combination military veterans in 2019.
Heritage Month Events
- May 10, 2022. American Masters | Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha | Season 36 | PBS, about the five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku.
- May 12, 2022. Second Meeting of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, 12:30–5:30 pm ET. Members of the public will be able to watch via livestream.
- May 19, 2022. Virtual event—Connecting and Healing: Asian Pacific American Cuisine – More Than Just Comfort Food, 1:00-2:00 p.m., hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights & Asian Pacific American Network in Agriculture (APANA).
- PBS AANHPI Month Specials (stream free now and usually for the rest of the month)
- Library of Congress Events
- 2022 Presidential Proclamation
- White House FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Additional Actions to Respond to Anti-Asian Violence, Xenophobia and Bias - 30 March 2021
- Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States - 26 January 2021
- Asian Pacific American Network in Agriculture (APANA)
- About Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month - U.S. Library of Congress
- Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)
- PBS Specials: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
- Census Facts for Features: Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: May 2022
- Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) AAPI Resource Center
- Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Resources - Anti-Defamation League
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - National Park Service
- Asia Society
- National Asian American/ Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander SEPM, Andy Pham, 301-504-0105