By: Rachel Spears
May, though not as well known as some other heritage months, is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, a celebration of individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage that have had a historical and cultural impact on American life. Like all heritage months, this one was designed to shed light on and highlight stories that the general public may not have heard of. There are nearly 23 million people who fall under the AAPI umbrella currently living in the United States. The majority of the world (4.3 billion people) can be classified as Asian or Pacific Islander making that community in America one filled with many different cultures and no lack of diversity. Over the last few years, this diversity has been celebrated through the release of a variety of Disney movies such as Raya and the last Dragon as well as Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and increased representation in media, and a bigger focus on issues of discrimination relating to the AAPI community. All this is to say that the AAPI community has had a large impact on American history as well as America today.
Although many of us enjoy watching movies and TV shows it is rare that anyone sits down to watch a movie first published in the 1930s. Anna May Wong was an actress during this time who, in many ways, opened the door for AAPI people in Hollywood but also helped to shape movies during that time period. The 50th anniversary of the grounding breaking Title IX legislation which ensured equality for women in many different spheres is rapidly approaching but what does this have to do with AAPI heritage month? One of the leading congresspeople on that will was an important woman, someone named Patsy Mink. The first congresswoman of color, she paved the way for AAPI people, and especially women, in American politics. Some notable AAPI politicians include Vice President Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Grace Meng. She has been at the forefront of the push to create a national museum to honor AAPI history. A bill to do just that passed the House just last week and yet again brought AAPI people to the attention of the nation.
To learn more about AAPI heritage month in the Garnet Valley community consider attending a HERE or Asian Culture Club (pictured above) meeting. You can contact Mrs. Knox or Rachel Jason to learn more!