CDC Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! May 7, 2012.

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month long celebration.

During the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages and unique experiences represented among more than 47 ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific Islands (speaking more than 100 languages) who live in the United States. We also recognize millions of AAPIs whose love of family, hard work and community has helped unite us as a people and sustain us as a Nation.

AAPIs represent one of the fastest-growing and most diverse populations in the United States. According to the 2003 President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Report to the President and the Nation, AAPIs comprise many populations that make critically important contributions to American life. Their communities often are described as a “model minority” that generally enjoys superior health status. In reality, however, the AAPI population experiences genuine health disparities in cancer screening, diabetes and infectious diseases, among others. Read more