Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It’s a time to celebrate the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have had on U.S. culture and history, and also a time to celebrate the vast diversity of cultures throughout Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise since the beginning of 2020, with an Ipsos public poll finding that one-third of Americans witnessed “someone blaming Asian people for the coronavirus epidemic.” Our corps members have documented not only these struggles, but also stories of resilience, hope and celebrations of culture.

Here are some a few stories from the last year that celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander communities:

  • Not being able to communicate with health care professionals in a preferred language leads to health care gaps. In the South Bay area of San Jose, California, the Vietnamese American Service Center opened a health clinic to reach Vietnamese speakers. Corps member Tran Nguyen reports that the service center itself is the first of its kind, providing culturally competent programs for the region’s large Vietnamese community. | San Jose Spotlight
  • Following the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019, businesses owned by Asian Americans saw a dip in their sales as customers “feared catching the virus from Chinese people,” one community member told Annika Hom. Activists marched through Chinatown in San Francisco in February 2020 with banners that read “Fight the Virus, Not the People!” to encourage community solidarity. Now, banners from the San Francisco marchers are in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. | Mission Local
  • March is Mes CHamoru, or Chamorro Heritage Month, in Guam, a month to celebrate the native Chamorro people of the island. Jackson Stephens reports that this year, the Sagan Kotturan Chamoru Cultural Center in Tamuning, Guam, hosted events to teach island residents traditional leaf weaving, CHamoru language and more. | Pacific Daily News
  • In February 2022, the Little Saigon Tet Parade made its way down the streets of Westminster, California, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Members of the community and out-of-town onlookers came together to celebrate the Year of the Tiger and the Lunar New Year. | Voice of OC
  • Conversations about immigration in the U.S. typically focus on the coasts or the U.S. borders, with little attention given to the immigration experience in the Midwest. Ohio Progressive Asian Women’s Leadership, a community organization, launched a storytelling campaign to highlight the immigrant narrative in Ohio — with a focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander stories, Yilun Cheng reports. | The Columbus Dispatch

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides people with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.