Asian American History Comes Alive

Celebrating Asian Pacific American History Month and committing to future AAPI heroes and leaders

Halfway through May, many of us have attended Asian Pacific American History Month (#APAHM2016) events to celebrate our shared accomplishments and members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Some lucky members of the AAPI political and advocacy community gathered for the affectionately nicknamed “Asian Nerd Prom,” the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS) gala, where President Barack Obama addressed Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on some of our favorite topics — immigration and disaggregated data.

Asian Pacific American History Month is an important time for our community: AAPI contributions to American history are largely left out of our textbooks. Asian Americans who helped build our nation, like the Chinese laborers who laid rails from California to the East Coast, have literally been excluded from the historical photographs that eventually fill the pages of our history lessons or adorn museum walls.

Fortunately, student and faculty activists on college campuses are fighting to get Asian American Studies majors offered at more universities. Activists like Karen Korematsu are ensuring our history is recognized and taught in schools. New television shows are finally telling our stories in ways that ring true to our complex identities, rather than provide the punchline to an off-color joke.

This month is an opportunity to educate ourselves and our friends on the depth of our ties to this country as we keep up the effort to have Asian Americans recognized as American. So take inspiration from some of the AAPI heroes who have paved the way for AAPI activists, dreamers, artists, and leaders today:

At Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Pacific American History Month is also a time to think about AAPI leaders of tomorrow. We’re currently accepting applications for our 2016 Youth Leadership Summit, a three-day event that brings driven, intelligent students from across the country to Washington, D.C. to hone their skills in advocacy and leadership with the help of national leaders. We continue to see our Youth Leadership Summit graduates, like Devin Tran, grow and succeed in their communities and can’t wait to meet our next group of youth leaders.

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are rededicating ourselves to the core activities that drive Advancing Justice | AAJC: strengthening roots, promoting equal protections, and building the political power of Asian Americans. A large part of that is committing to support the AAPI leaders of tomorrow. Help us do even more by continuing the legacies of our Asian American heroes by supporting our vision of tomorrow.