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:
- 'Minari' Showing at Sunset Drive-In
- Hear Amanpreet Oberio, President of Erie Asian Pacific American Association in a conversation on the podcast Our Erie.
- Watch videos featured on the City of Erie's Facebook page featuring AAPI community members who have made, or are making, an impact across our community and around the world, during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month You can see two of the videos here and here.
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!
- The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, California
- The Crow Collection of Asian Art, The University of Texas at Dallas
- Dallas Museum of Art
- The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, D.C.
- The Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Museum of Chinese in America, New York
- The Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York
- The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York
- The Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
- Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
- The Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California
Plus more! Here are a four great videos featuring AAPI history:
- Asian Americans PBS Film Series
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Hosted by the Library of Congress
- The SIX Documentary (The Untold Story of RMS Titanic's Chinese Passengers)
- Amend: The Fight for America
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:
- Bend it like Beckam
- Big Hero 6
- Finding ‘Ohana
- Over the Moon
- Mira, Royal Detective
- Mulan (Animated & Live Action)
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Raya and the Last Dragon
- The Speed Cubers
- Spelling the Dream
Movies for older kids and adults:
- Blinded by the Light (13+)
- Crazy Rich Asians (13+)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (+12)
- Driveways (13+)
- The Farewell (11+)
- Gran Torino (17+)
- The Joy Luck Club (16+)
- Meet the Patels
- Minari (13+)
- Namesake (14+)
- Never Have I Ever (14+)
- Yellow Rose (13+)