I remember the excitement of going back to school after the long, hot summers in Texas where I grew up. Preparing for the first day back to school meant getting the book bag ready with new school supplies, selecting an outfit and thinking about all the familiar and new faces I would be seeing. That was a generation ago. Although the students going back to school now prepare in a similar way, they (and their parents and guardians) have a whole host of other things on their minds – school safety, being selected in special programs, college readiness and how to prepare for the workforce needs of the future.
As May came to an end so did this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM) festivities. This month was full of amazing celebrations and thoughtful discussions. In DC alone there were many events hosted at federal and local government offices.
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative) kicked off APAHM activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on May 3rd. Hosted by the DOE Asian American Pacific Islander Network, the theme for this month’s focus was “Unite our Vision by Working Together”.
APAHM stands for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. It was first designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week by President Carter under Public Law 95-419 in 1978. In 1992, it was designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by President Bush under Public Law 102-450.
This is a time for many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to reflect on our history here in the U.S. and also celebrate our culture and heritage. It’s a month full of joyous activities as well as remembering some challenges in U.S. history such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. President Trump proclaimed May 2018 as APAHM by recognizing the tremendous contributions that AAPIs such as Kalpana Chawla and Susan Ahn Cuddy have made to our communities and nation.
The U.S. Federal government will take part in these festivities by hosting events in commemoration of APAHM so keep your eyes on the lookout for events across our nation’s capital and the country! The U.S. Department of Education will be hosting two events this month through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). WHIAAPI works to improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the nation through increased access to and participation in federal programs. Learn more about our mission.