In May 2023, we commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time when we honor the achievements and rich histories of these minority groups in America. This observance originated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week in 1978 and was officially established by President Jimmy Carter. May holds significance as it marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in 1843, on May 7, as well as Golden Spike Day on May 10, which celebrates the completion of the transcontinental railroad—a monumental project largely constructed by Chinese laborers.
The Bay Area has one of the largest AAPI communities in the United States, second only to Honolulu. While May highlights the AAPI community, it remains crucial to uplift and support individuals within it, particularly due to the rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout this month, we encourage members to participate in local community events and fundraisers, providing an opportunity to explore the diverse cultures of the AAPI community and their significant contributions to the labor movement and broader society in the United States. We celebrate notable AAPI leaders, such as Larry Itliong, who spearheaded the Farm Worker strike before being joined by Cesar Chavez, Ai-jen Poo, the founder of Domestic Workers United, advocating for dignity and respect for domestic workers, the elderly, and disabled Americans. We also recognize and applaud Eric Yuan, the visionary founder of Zoom, a prominent video conferencing platform.
This AAPI Heritage Month, let us honor the past, appreciate the present, and work towards building a more inclusive future for all.