UW Combined Fund Drive

May 3, 2021

May is AANHPI Heritage Month

Happy Asian-America, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month!

The United States started recognizing AANHPI heritage in 1978. The weeklong recognition expanded to a month long celebration and commemoration of the rich heritage of the AANHPI community in 1992.

May was chosen to commemorate Japanese immigration, first documented on May 7, 1843, and the May 10, 1896 completion of the transcontinental railroad, a majority of which was done by Chinese immigrant workers.[1]

Throughout May, we encourage you to take time to explore, learn, and celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month.

Across the country and throughout US history, the AANHPI community has shaped and contributed to the US in many ways. On campus, some of the beloved cherry blossoms were a gifted the Japan Commerce Association of Washington to the UW Department of American Ethnic Studies in celebration of the Japanese-American relationship at the university.[3]

Seattleites cling proudly to our Chinese-American hometown hero, Bruce Lee. However, the city also took part in harmful and discriminatory practices like redlining which had significant impacts on access for the AANHPI community. In Washington State, over 12,000 Japanese were incarcerated as part of the World War II Japanese Internment.2 

The AANHPI community represents 26 ethnicities and has more than 67 unique languages and dialects.

For more about AANHPI Heritage Month, resources, and to support AANHPI nonprofits, check out the CFD’s AANHPI resource page.

Additional information and events can be found as part of the National Park Service exploration of AANHPI stories and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month site assembled by the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Smithsonian’s, National Archives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Part Services, and National Endowment for the Humanities.

Places to Visit

Take an educational stay-cation to visit and learn about the impacts of the AANHPI community in Seattle.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience: The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is the only community-based museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to the history of pan-Asian Pacific Americans.

Panama Hotel – National Historic Landmark: The Panama Hotel is located in the heart of Seattle, Washington’s Chinatown-International District, the location of its Nihonmachi (Japantown) before World War II. The hotel has a long history of providing temporary lodging for immigrants from Japan who immigrated to Seattle and houses one of only two intact sentos (public bathhouses) in the United States.

Seattle Chinatown Historic District – National Register of Historic Places: Seattle’s Chinatown Historic District has been the focal point of the city’s Asian community since the early 20th century. Chinatown was the heart of the most extensive Asian community in Washington State and the size and vitality of the district attracted thousands of immigrants to Seattle. Seattle’s first Chinese settlers came to the northwestern United States in the 1860s and 1870s, providing a labor force for the booming lumber mills, fishing operations, and railroads of the region.

Upcoming Events

Saving Chinatown and Our Legacies: May 5, 3:30 pm PST
Since its introduction to the United States more than 150 years ago, Chinese cuisine has become an American staple. Its cooking techniques, from stir frying and smoking to steaming and braising, have grown in popularity over the decades. At the same time, Chinese Americans have been ridiculed, shunned, excluded, and discriminated against. Registration required.

Jim Lee and Asian American Superheroes: May 6, 4:00 pm PST
Celebrate the life work of DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee. He will appear in conversation with illustrator Bernard Chang (“Generations Forged”) and writers Sarah Kuhn (“Shadow of the Batgirl”) and Minh LĂŞ (“Green Lantern: Legacy”). Moderated by former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang (“Superman Smashes the Klan”). This presentation will premiere on both Facebook and YouTube.

Youth in Action: Ecological Knowledge in Pacific Coastal Communities: May 20, Available on demand How can traditional knowledge inform responses to current environmental challenges? Join the National Museum of American Indians  in conversation with young Indigenous activists from across the Pacific who are using traditional ecological practices to combat threats to the ocean resources their communities have protected and thrived on for thousands of years.

[1] About Asian/Pacific Heritage Month. Library of Congress. https://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/

[2] Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration. SeattleCenter. seattlecenter.com/events/featured-events/festal/api-heritage-month-celebration

[3] Orenstien, W. (2014 May 14) “Cherry trees from Japan to grace UW campus”. Northwest Asian Weekly. http://nwasianweekly.com/2014/05/cherry-trees-japan-grace-uw-campus/