Celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month


May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In June of 1978, Rep. Horton introduced a joint house Resolution which proposed that the President should proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become law.

Over the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress expanded the observance to a month for 1990. In 1992 Congress designated May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month .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. A majority of the workers who laid the tracks for the transcontinental railroad were Chinese immigrants.

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights looks forward to celebrating Asian- Pacific American Heritage Month with our community partners. Information regarding local events/celebrations and links to resources related to Asian-Pacific Heritage are found below. 

Local Events/Celebrations 

Asian Pacific Legal Experience in America: Opportunity, Economics, Racism, and Hope

Journey through stories and information of the darkest moments Japanese internment, to a celebration of Asian Americans who are now leaders in all fields. Created by 12 lawyers to support the legal journey of Asian Americans, this exhibit features historical events such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Japanese American Incarceration during WWII, and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The exhibit is provided by the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

When: May 3 – 23, open to the public during regular business hours.
Where: Bloomington Civic Plaza, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road Bloomington, MN 55431

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Bloomington Human Rights Commission.


2016 Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans Leadership Awards Dinner

Each year the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans organizes a dinner that brings the community together to commemorate “Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month” and honor the accomplishments and contributions Asian-Pacific Americans have made to our state and nation.

The 2016 Dinner’s theme is “Community, Civic Engagement, and Change”. The program consists of a keynote address and the presentation of the annual Asian Pacific Minnesotans Leadership Awards. This year’s keynote speaker is the Honorable Elizabeth Kautz, Mayor of the city of Burnsville.

When: Friday, May 20, 2016 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. A networking reception will begin at 5:00 PM, followed by a dinner program at 6:00 PM. 
Where: Maplewood Community Center, 2100 White Bear Avenue Maplewood, MN 55109.

Registration is free. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. To register, visit the event page on the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans website.

Immigration and Identity in America

Join a small group dialogue to process and discuss the themes of immigration, identity and equity in America as featured in the exhibit Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation. These dialogues are a place to discuss today’s issues and the history that sheds light on them. Dialogues are facilitated by staff members trained by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

When: May 17, 2016, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM and May 24, 2016, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM.
Where: Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102.

This event is free to attend.

Web Sites and Resources Related to Asian-Pacific Heritage

  • Asian Pacific Heritage Teaching Resources A collection of lesson plans for exploring Asian Pacific Heritage with students.
  • Council on Asian Pacific MinnesotansThe Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) is a state agency created by the Minnesota state legislature to: advise the governor and members of the legislature on issues pertaining to Asian Pacific Minnesotans; advocate on issues of importance to the Asian Pacific community, and; act as a broker between the Asian Pacific community and mainstream society.
  • Asian American Press Asian American Press is the first Asian American publication in Minnesota. Founded in 1982 as Asian Business & Community News, and renamed to the Asian American Press in 1990. This publication covers local, national and international news and information related to Asian American culture.
  • Becoming Minnesotan, Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees
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