Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a commemoration of the culture, traditions and history of Asian American and Pacific Islander people in the United States. In 1978, Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution to pay tribute to Asian Pacific American Heritage Week during the first week of May and in 1992, the month of May was permanently designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. During Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, communities commemorate the achievements and contributions of people who are Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students.
According to a 2021 Pew Research Report, the Asian American community in the U.S. is diverse. A record 23 million Asian American people trace their roots to more than twenty countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, each with unique histories, cultures, languages and other characteristics. Currently, Asian American people comprise about 7% of the U.S. population. Eighty-five percent of those Asian American people have origins in six countries: China, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.
In schools and classrooms, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an excellent time to explore the rich history and culture of people who are AAPI as well as analyzing the bias and discrimination faced by them. As with other similarly themed months, it is important not to isolate exploration of AAPI history and culture into one month during the year. Asian American Pacific Islander history is American history and should be integrated into the curriculum throughout the school year.
Below is a list of K-12 curriculum and other resources to bring Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month to your classrooms.