To recognize Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and honor the contributions, cultures, and histories of these communities, we have pulled together some important resources and encourage you to reflect, learn and continue taking actions that build more inclusivity in our communities and workplace.



May is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1992 when Congress annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. Source.


Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to learn more about the diverse culture and history of Asian communities in Canada, as well as to acknowledge the many achievements and contributions of people of Asian origin who, throughout our history, have done so much to make Canada the country we know and love.

The theme for Asian Heritage Month 2023 is “Stories of Determination”, which represents the strides made and the challenges overcome by Asian communities to thrive in Canada over the last 2 centuries and beyond. It is a history filled with hardship and setbacks, but ultimately, it is a story of triumph over adversity. This month is also a reminder for all of us to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms. Source.


Are You “AAPI” or “Asian American”? It’s Complicated. | A People’s History of Asian America | PBS Voices YouTube

  • Philip Vera Cruz

    Philip Vera Cruz was a Filipino leader in the Asian American Movement, a farmworker and a leader in the labor movement. He also organized alongside César Chávez and fellow Filipino labor leader, Larry Itliong. Read more.

  • Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

    Born in 1896, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was an American activist and minister. She was a leader in the women’s rights movement and campaigned for women’s suffrage; and even led a parade of nearly 10,000 people through New York. She was the first Chinese woman to earn a PhD. in economics and was director of the First Chinese Baptist Church of New York City. Read more.


    The first lawyer of Chinese origin in Canada, Kew Yock Dip (also known as Yock Dip) was born into a large family in Vancouver in 1906. Read more.

  • Tammy Duckworth

    Tammy Duckworth is a U.S. Senator from Illinois, in addition to being the first Thai American woman elected to Congress, first person born in Thailand elected to Congress, first woman with a disability elected to Congress, first double amputee in the Senate, and first senator to give birth while in office. She is a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel and was the first American female double amputee from the Iraq War, for which she received a Purple Heart. Read more.