Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

Vibrant+celebrations+in+honor+of+AAPI+Heritage+Month+take+place+all+throughout+May%2C+showcasing+the+uniqueness+of+Asian+cultures.

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Vibrant celebrations in honor of AAPI Heritage Month take place all throughout May, showcasing the uniqueness of Asian cultures.

Eugenie Chang, Staff Writer

Since its original introduction to Congress as a week-long observance, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month has expanded vastly in both significance and prominence. The month was designated in 1992 after decades of discrimination and oppression against Asian Americans and recognizes the rich cultures of Asians and Pacific Islanders through a celebration of their traditions. 

In light of the recent rise in anti-Asian sentiment across the United States, it is more important than ever to promote cultural diversity and acceptance. Countless clubs here at Northwood aim to educate students on Asian cultures, including Chinese Club, Japanese Student Association, Kai Club and Namaste Northwood. 

“Throughout the years, we’ve spread awareness about our AAPI heritage by educating our classmates about Philippine history and cultural figures such as Jose Rizal and Manny Pacquiao,” Kai Club president senior Troy Javier said. “Celebrating AAPI culture is so important because our different upbringings and traditions are what truly makes us unique.”

Other Northwood students have stood up for their heritage by actively speaking out against Asian hate crimes. By condemning this discrimination, they honor their culture and spread awareness about the difficulties Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders face each and every day, a topic that is not often discussed even in the AAPI community. 

“As a young girl, I would imagine the cause of death being old age and never because of someone hating my race, my appearance, my traditions or my culture,” freshman Kristie To said at a Stop Asian Hate Rally held at Irvine Civic Center. “I was inspired to speak at the rally to help me work toward stopping the hate crimes that have created these fears.”

AAPI Heritage Month is a time for educating people about the customs of various Asian cultures as well as their achievements. From the Google Arts and Culture feature on Asian Pacific American cultures to the curated exhibits featuring noteworthy historical events and figures on the Asian Pacific Heritage website, there are countless ways to immerse yourself into Asian and Pacific Islander culture this May. Taking the time to understand what makes this heritage special will pave the way to accepting all people regardless of their race or culture.