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AAPI Resource Center

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is observed annually in May to celebrate the contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history, society, and culture. The following information has been curated by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) to educate the public about AAPIs and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

2020 AAPI HERITAGE MONTH THEME

FAPAC is proud to select the theme for the observance of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2020 is Unite Our Nation by Empowering Equality. This year’s theme is a continuation of our “Unite” series and focuses on leadership, diversity, and inclusion to advance the AAPI community. Read the full Press Release!

Download the 2020 AAPI Heritage Month banner:

2020 AAPI Heritage Month banner

AAPI Heritage Month History

  • June 30, 1977: The origin of AAPI Heritage Month dates back to the 95th Congress (1977-1978) when five joint resolutions were introduced proposing that a week in May be designated to commemorate the accomplishments of AAPIs. The House of Representatives introduced three joint resolutions (H.J.Res.540H.J.Res.661H.J.Res.753) to designate the first 10 days in May as "Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week" while Senator Daniel Inouye also introduced S.J.Res.72 in the Senate to designate the beginning of May as "Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week."  A 4th joint resolution (H.J.Res.1007) was introduced in the House by Rep. Frank J. Horton and proposed designating 7 days in May beginning on May 4th as Asian/Pacific American Week. This joint resolution was passed by Congress and became Pub.L.95-419. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week."
  • March 28, 1979: President Carter issued Proclamation 4650, the first presidential proclamation, for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian/Pacific Americans have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce. Over the next ten years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.
  • May 7, 1990: President George H.W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”
  • May 9, 1990: Congress passed Pub.L.101-283 which amended Pub.L.95-419Pub.L.101-283 requested the President to issue a proclamation which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month in May 1990. This law called on the people of the United States to observe Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with “appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities.” 
  • May 14, 1991: Pub.L.102-42 was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush.  This law requested that the President proclaim May 1991 and May 1992 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months.”  This law also recognized the significance of May 7th and May 10th in the history of Asian/Pacific Americans.  May 7, 1843 is the date on which the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States while on May 10, 1869 the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese pioneers.  
  • October 23, 1992: Congress passed Pub.L.102-450 which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450 Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump have annually issued proclamations designating May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Read the 2020 Presidential Proclamation on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

FAPAC Events

  • August 10, 2020 00:00
    On-Line Only
  • September 17, 2020 11:00
    (Eastern Standard Time) Online Workshop for Current Students or Recent Graduates Only.
  • September 18, 2020 10:00
    (Eastern Standard Time) Online Workshop for Current Students or Recent Graduates Only.

FAPAC is a 501 (c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the civilian and military Asian Pacific American (APA) employees in the Federal and District of Columbia governments.
Copyright 2020 FAPAC • 12801 Fair Lakes Parkway, Fairfax, VA  22033 • P.O. Box 23184, Washington, D.C. 20026-3184

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