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Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month


May is Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month—a time of celebration of the vast diversities and significant contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islanders within the United States.

This month-long celebration is marked by different festivals, parades, and events of cultural performances, all showcasing the diverse experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders heritage.

This month had a long road before it came into existence. It was first established in Congress in 1977, when Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week.

In the same year, Sen. Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72; neither of these resolutions passed. However, in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should proclaim a week -which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month- during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’”

This joint resolution was first passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419. This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’”

During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 which expanded the holiday recognition to a month for 1990.

Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Now each year the celebrations continue to flourish.
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