Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a month-long celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States which annually occurs in May. It celebrates a very broad range of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Polynesian cultures. For example, Asia is a continent with lots of countries inside of it. Each country has its own culture. Many cultures differ depending on the region inside the country. Similarly, there are many Pacific Islands and territories in the US, which also have rich histories and cultures.
You can celebrate Asian, Pacific Islander, and Polynesian cultures by reading about them, trying traditional recipes, listening to music, and much more.
If You Like Food, Check Out These Delicious Dishes:
Hi! I’m Allison, your SWENext reporter. I absolutely love trying new recipes from around the world. I am so excited to share a few of my favorites with you!
Ask for an adult’s help to get the ingredients and cooking materials together. Then try some of these favorite recipes: Paneer Butter Masala recipe (Indian), Yellow Curry Chicken recipe (Thai), and Okonomiyaki recipe (Japanese).
Some ingredients may be hard to find depending on where you live. If you are able to find them, the meal is well worth it! It is okay to get creative and substitute ingredients if needed. If you have curious taste buds, explore other Asian, Pacific Islander, and Polynesian recipes!
If You Like to Read, Check Out These Books:
- Watercress by Andrea Wang is about a young girl who is the daughter of Chinese immigrants moving to a small town in Ohio. This young girl is having complicated feelings about her heritage. After learning more about her family history, she learns to embrace her Chinese heritage with pride.
- In Wishes, Vietnamese American author Mượn Thị Văn writes about her childhood experiences. She tells the story of her Vietnamese family taking a life-altering journey by boat to a new country.
- No Kimchi for Me! is a fun book by Aram Kim. It is about Yoomi, a picky eater. She dislikes kimchi, a pickled cabbage condiment served with Korean meals. Because she is a picky eater, Yoomi’s brothers make fun of her and refuse to play with her. She becomes determined to actually eat kimchi and enjoy it.
Combating Stereotypes and Racism:
Finally, there is one very important reason to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. It’s to stop hate. Unfortunately, with a lot of scary things happening around the world, society tries to find somebody to blame.
This was true around the time of World War II. After the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the US government decided to capture people with Japanese heritage living in America and sent them to internment camps. They even sent away Asian-American people who were not Japanese. This was a terrible and cruel policy. These families had everything taken from them. It happened and it was allowed because of fear and hatred toward Japanese people. Now, there are memorials all around the country, honoring the people who were forced out of their homes by the US government. Visiting these memorials reminds us that it was wrong to treat people this way.
When the Coronavirus spread around the entire world, people were very scared. The sudden changes in their lives also made them angry. Many people were quick to blame people of Asian descent. Because of this, people Asian descent in the US have been treated very cruelly and have been bullied terribly.
It is important to remember that it is wrong to bully people, no matter what. It is also important to stand up to bullies and stand with those who are being bullied. Much of the bullying comes from a place of fear and confusion. Take a look at SWE’s Bullying Prevention Guide to understand how to prevent bullying and be prepared to deal with it proactively and thoughtfully. Overall, taking the time to learn about other cultures can help us all understand and respect each other.