Green America Honors Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

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photo by Roberto Galan

Girls performing Hmong traditional dances at a 2019 Asian Festival in Columbus, Ohio.

During Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, we spend time thinking about the people who share that heritage and represent a broad range of backgrounds and who make our country what it is today. Even the month’s official website acknowledges how broad this group is, as it encapsulates people from all 48 countries of the Asian continent and the 25 island nations that make up Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Like any heritage month—Black history, LGBTQ+ Pride, Latin-American Heritage, etc, May’s celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders does not represent a monolith of people, but encompasses people of an immense range of backgrounds, identities, and stories. 

Asian Pacific American Heritage month originated in Congress by Frank Horton (R-NY) and in the Senate by Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in 1977 as just a week, but the commemoration was broadened to a month in 1990. The month of May was chosen in commemoration of the first Japanese people to immigrate to the US, recorded as May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869—an important milestone made possible by mostly Chinese immigrant workers who laid those tracks.

Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have a long history in the United States, certainly dating back before 1843, and have faced systemic racism by the government, such as the colonization and US annexation of Hawaii in 1898 and Japanese American incarceration from 1942-1945. While fighting stereotypes of “perpetual foreigner” and “model minority,” this broad group, which is estimated to make up 22.9 million Americans and rising, have faced growing hate-related attacks, according to the FBI. Green America believes that a truly green society is one where all people are healthy and safe, so we aim to fight dangerous stereotypes and lift voices of our Asian and Pacific Islander allies during this month.

This month brings Americans together to remember, honor, and be inspired by Asian and Pacific Islander history and culture as well as the countless individuals of those backgrounds who have made tremendous contributions to our country.

To help enhance your celebration with content you can use all year long, Green America is pleased to share Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month resources that highlight accomplishments and the racial justice still needed in society, the economy, and the environment. We do this as a reflection of our vision: “to work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the abundance of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come.”

Together, let’s celebrate and recommit ourselves to building a just society.

We will be updating this list in May with new articles from Green America and new events as we learn of them!

Holiday Background & Social Justice:

How One Woman's Story Led to the Creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

31 Stories for 31 Days of AAPI Heritage Month

How AAPI Thinkers are Redefining Asianness

What is AAPI Heritage Month? Learn About Its History and How to Celebrate Respectfully

Theme for 2024 

YES Article – Home is where the Art is 

Movement Hub: a living library of curated resources for AAPI organizers, activists, and community members 

The Asian American Foundation Heritage Month Toolkit 


Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by learning more about trailblazers and leaders who have left an undeniable mark on the labor movement

Understanding economic disparities within the AAPI community

Factory Exploitation and the Fast Fashion Machine

Meet Green Business Network Member The Good Tee

UFCW Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month 

6 Ways to Support Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities 


Reclaiming Victory Gardens from Our Racist History

Through the Eyes of a Grassroots Leader: How the Asian American Community Reclaims Its Voice in Environmental Justice

Pacific Islanders are embracing their cultural past to better their climate future

Meet 13 Asian and Asian Diasporic Nature and Environment Writers

Asian American Pacific Islanders in the Environmental Movement 

Why the Environmental Movement Should Stop Ignoring Asian Americans 

8 AAPI Climate Voices to Follow 

Virtual Asian American/Pacific Islander History Month Events:

See virtual events here:

On TV: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month — May 2024 

A Conversation with Author Celeste Ng and Harvard Professor Ju Yon Kim 

LA County Library Events 

Search “AAPI month events [your town]” to find local celebrations near you!


How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang 

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See 

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen 

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So 

Severance by Ling Ma 

Disability Visibility by Alice Wong 

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel 

Penguin Random House List of books to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month 

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