May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! First established in the late 1970s as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, the celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States was officially expanded to the entire month by Congress in the early 1990s.
According to the celebration’s official website, the month of May was chosen to “commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869,” which was built largely through the efforts of Chinese workers.
The term “Asian/Pacific” is defined as encompassing “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).” A 2021 report by Pew Research Center found Asian Americans are expected to be the largest immigrant group in the United States by 2055.
In addition to learning about Asian/Pacific American dietitians’ contributions to the nutrition and dietetics profession, here are five ways we all can celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
- Read Asian/Pacific American Authors. So many books and resources— including non-fiction, fiction, cookbooks, children’s literature and poetry — offer information and insight into the experience and culture of Asian/Pacific Americans. Check your local library to find out how they are celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Many libraries will have curated collections of titles for all ages and reading levels. Online and brick and mortar bookstores also are excellent resources, with suggested book club selections and online reviews and ratings available.
- Follow Asian/Pacific American Content Creators on Social Media. Start with professional historians associated with museums, libraries and universities for credible historical references; Asian/Pacific American dietitians and health professionals for nutrition information or recipes; or everyday creators sharing their experiences and stories. Once you follow a few Asian/Pacific American creators, most platform algorithms will start suggesting other similar creators.
- Look for Asian/Pacific American History Collections on Streaming Video Platforms. The biggest streaming video platforms — as well as free videos collections online — often promote collections to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
- Learn about — and Advocate for — Collaboration, Development, Diversity and Inclusion. This year’s Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month theme, “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration,” encourages local and national governments to prioritize collaboration, development and training of Asian/Pacific Americans in leadership to promote diversity, inclusion and career advancement. The Academy’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Action Plan is a sustainable, living document designed to move the dietetics profession towards an increasingly welcome and inclusive future. Through collaboration with Asian/Pacific American nutrition and dietetics professionals, the Academy continues to support its vision of a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition. As such, we support legislation designed to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and chronic disease.
- See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Whether you are looking to support your personal or family health, help manage a disease or condition, improve physical performance in athletics or for any other nutrition and wellness goal, use Find a Nutrition Expert to locate an RDN offering in-person or telehealth services in your area. For nutrition information tailored to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, check out the resources offered by the Academy’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Member Interest Group.
Recommended Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month websites:
- Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Resources
- National Endowment for the Humanities — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage and History in the U.S.
- National Park Service — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage
- Smithsonian Institution — Asian Pacific American Center
Recommended Asian American and Pacific Islander health, wellness and nutrition websites:
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Hub
- Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders MIG
- Oldways Cultural Food Traditions
- Office of Minority Health