WASHINGTON, D.C. – This month, Senator Mazie K. Hirono, the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, introduced a bipartisan resolution recognizing May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
“Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of the contributions and progress made by the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Hawaii and across the country. The AAPI community is the fastest growing minority population in the United States and will have an increasing presence and stronger voice in national debates for years to come,” said Senator Hirono. “As an immigrant who came to the United States from Japan with my mother at a young age, it’s an honor to lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in recognizing and celebrating the culture and stories of AAPI families that have enriched our nation.”
The resolution is cosponsored by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
May is officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by section 102 of title 36, United States Code. The observance originally began as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, which was established through a joint Congressional resolution in 1978. The month of May was chosen due to two important milestones in AAPI history: May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States, and May 10, 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad was completed with substantial contributions from Chinese immigrant workers.