Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Erie

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Cookie Suarez, publisher of Macaroni Kid Buckhead-Midtown-Brookhaven, Ga. and Kara Murphy, publisher of Macaroni Kid Erie May 10, 2021

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Asians and Pacific Islanders in Erie and across the United States.

Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures are so rich in culture and diversity because they are represented in more than 30 countries — including the entire Asian continent and the Pacific Islands — and encompass more than 100 different languages. 

The month of May was chosen as AAPI Heritage Month in the United States to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The transcontinental railroad was largely built by Chinese immigrants. Congress officially designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in 1992.

In Erie, Mayor Joe Schember issued a proclamation for AAPI Heritage month at a press conference earlier this month and recognized the efforts of the Erie Asian Pacific American Association in bringing together all members of our community. 

This month-long celebration in previous years has featured the diverse contributions and historical achievements of the AAPI community to the United States and in Erie through festive celebrations with traditional performances, food, and art.

But this year is different. Reports of increased violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been in the news frequently and now is a time more than ever to show compassion and support to this amazing group of Americans. Positive representation and uplifting the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders matter in Erie and beyond.

Here are ways you can support and learn about the AAPI community in Erie and beyond, while also celebrating their culture and traditions: 

Take part in events and activities in Erie and beyond

Recognizing AAPI Heritage Month in Erie:

Virtual activities beyond Erie:

  • AAPI Storytime from The Conscious Kid  Featuring a new title every week in May!
  • Drawn Together by Minh Le
  • Lotus & Feather read by Michelle Yeoh
  • Grace Lin Author Storytime and Drawing
  • See Us Unite for Change: Ken Jeong will host this special event on MTV Entertainment May 21 at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT. The special will feature music, comedy performances, short film packages, and speakers and seek to educate viewers about the AAPI community’s impact in America and inspire them to support efforts against hate and discrimination. It will be shown across MTV's portfolio of brands (MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, VH1, CMT, TV Land, and Logo), as well as BET and Nickelodeon. It will also stream exclusively on Facebook Watch.

Support AAPI-owned restaurants, businesses and organizations 

A good place to start? The Erie Asian American Pacific Association website has a list of resources in Erie, Pa., including community groups, civic and nonprofit groups, places of worship and ethnic grocery stores. 


The Erie County Public Library has several displays dedicated to AAPI authors this month. Find a great book (or three!) to read.

Even though many of these museums are far from Erie, most still offer free virtual opportunities for tours and to learn!

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Plus more! Here are a four great videos featuring AAPI history:

Movies and shows for kids featuring AAPI characters or culture

Many of these movies and shows can be found on popular streaming networks.

Movies and shows for younger kids:

Movies for older kids and adults: