Asian American & Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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Asian American & Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American & Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated annually during the month of May. In 1978, the U.S. Congress passed a joint proclamation declaring the first week in May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.” Presidents continued to issue annual proclamations until 1992. That year, Congress passed and Pres. George H.W. Bush signed Public Law 102-450. The law annually designated May as the month to celebrate the contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans to the country.

On April 13, 2022, Governor Mike Parson signed a Governor's Proclamation declaring May 2022 to be Asian America and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Why Do We Celebrate in May?

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and Golden Spike Day on May 10, 1869.

Golden Spike Day marks the completion of the first transcontinental railroad lines at Promontory Summit, Utah. There railroad dignitaries joined the eastern and western sections of the railroad with a golden spike. More than 13,000 of the 15,000 hired laborers were Chinese immigrants. They were paid less than white workers, and, unlike whites, had to provide their own lodging. The crew laid the track across Californiaʼs Sierra Nevada mountain range, carving 15 tunnels to cover 1,776 miles.

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