UW Combined Fund Drive

April 28, 2023

Celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month

Heritage travel / National Parks Service

May is recognized as National Asian American, Native Hawai’ian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, an opportunity to recognize the diverse people, cultures and communities whose contributions have enriched American life for centuries.  

The United States first recognized AANHPI heritage in 1978. The weeklong recognition expanded to a monthlong celebration and commemoration of the rich heritage of the AANHPI community in 1992.

The AANHPI community in the U.S. represents 26 ethnicities and has more than 67 unique languages and dialects.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrant workers.

Did you know? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018 there were more than 21 million Asian residents living in the U.S. from a region that covers more than one-third of the earth. The Asian American population is the fastest growing in the U.S. and expected to continue over the next decade, and Mandarin Chinese is spoken more than any other single language throughout the world.

Learn more: UWCFD’s AANHPI Resource Page

In the Pacific Northwest, AANHPI communities have long been integral to our region’s history and cultural heritage, having first settled in the area as far back as the early 19th century. 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. On UW campus, some of the beloved cherry blossom trees were gifted by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington to the UW Department of American Ethnic Studies in celebration of the Japanese-American relationship at the university.

However, the region also took part in harmful and discriminatory practices, such as redlining, which had significant impacts on access for the AANHPI community. In Washington state, over 12,000 Japanese were incarcerated as part of Japanese internment programs during World War II.

This month — and every month — we can celebrate the many ways that AANHPI people enrich our communities.

Spotlight: Asian & Pacific Islander American Faculty & Staff Association at UW

Recognizing and honoring the rich ethnic, cultural and social diversity of UW Asian and Pacific Islander American faculty and staff, the purpose of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Faculty and Staff Association (APIAFSA) is to create, engage, maintain, and sustain a visible and supportive APIA community.

Follow the group on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Upcoming Events

Korean dancer at Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at Seattle Center

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration
May 6, 2023, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Armory Food & Event Hall
Seattle Center Festál presents Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration in partnership with the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition (APDC). The festival marks the beginning of the officially proclaimed and recognized Asian Pacific American Heritage Month of May in the Greater Seattle area. It aims to preserve and promote the culture, heritage, and contributions of Asian Pacific Islanders and Asian Pacific Americans.

Don’t miss performances by UW’s Traditional Chinese Dance group at noon and UW’s Vietnamese Student Association at 1:45 (followed by a hum bow eating contest at 2)!

Wing Luke After Hours Trivia
May 18, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Join friends near and far as you compete for prizes on AANHPI themed trivia! Play from home via Zoom. Free (donations accepted).

Spring Market at Wing Luke
Saturday, May 27, 11 a.m. —3 p.m., Community Hall
Come out to support local artisans at the first-ever Spring Market at Wing Luke Museum. Connect with small businesses and artists in our Community Hall and browse locally crafted and designed selections. Free!


ACRS (Asian Counseling and Referral Services) food bank support: Tasks include prepping food bags for delivery, assembling and packaging food, and loading/unloading food from delivery vehicles.

Volunteer for Helping Link, which empowers Vietnamese Americans and assists with social adjustment, family stability, and self-sufficiency while nurturing community service and youth leaders.

API Chaya envisions a community free from violence for Asian and Pacific Islander women and their families. The Natural Helpers program supports community members in learning about human trafficking, domestic and sexual violence, the societal forces that create conditions for violence, as well as in skill building around how to respond to harm, injustice, and support survivors.

Learn more

Take a look at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month site compiled 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.

Follow the #StopAsianHate and #BreakingAPABias hashtags to stay updated on current events. 

Check out the National Park Service exploration of AANHPI stories.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle’ Chinatown-International District is the only community-based museum in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to the history of pan-Asian Pacific Americans.

The Panama Hotel – National Historic Landmark is situated on Seattle’s 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 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.

No Longer Invisible is a project that  launched in 2014 as a means of expression for UW students, staff, faculty and alumni within the AANHPI communities to use their own words in voicing their stories and lived experiences. Diversity in aspects of identity such as culture, religion or spirituality, language, and tradition, among many others within and of the AAPI communities.

Check out University Bookstore’s Top 5 Reads for AANHPI Heritage Month


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our UWCFD member organizations working to advance human rights and justice for AA and NHPI people:

API Chaya (charity code 0320806): envisions a community free from violence. The mission of the Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center is to organize communities, educate, train, and provide technical assistance and comprehensive culturally relevant services.

Asian American Justice Center (charity code 1479276): Our mission is to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (charity code 0320807): Nationally recognized organization offering an array of human services and behavioral health programs to Asian Pacific Americans. 

Interim Community Development Association (ICDA) (charity code 0316558): We are a community development group promoting, advocating, and revitalizing the Chinatown/International District and other Asian/Pacific Islander communities in the Puget Sound area for the benefit of low- and moderate-income residents and communities.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) (charity code 0456713): provides culturally and linguistically appropriate health services to improve the health of Asian Pacific Islanders and the broader community.

Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (charity code 1480374): is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders AAPI. APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a vibrant America.

SafeFutures Youth Center (charity code 0350027): Comprehensive services for primarily SE Asian, East African, African American, and Pacific Islander youth and their families including case management, crisis intervention, school advocacy, employment, cultural, and multilingual services.

Wing Luke Asian Museum (charity code 0315161): The Museum engages Asian Pacific Americans and the public in exploring issues related to APA art, history and culture through exhibitions, outreach, research and publications.

The UW Combined Fund Drive stands in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. We recognize and support the struggle of AA and NHPI people to be seen, respected, heard and protected, and denounce all forms of discrimination, harassment, and racialized violence against AA and NHPI people.