May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

By: Christen Bourgeois Date: May 18th, 2022

May is designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month to recognize, honor and celebrate our country’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. May also commemorates the first Japanese immigrations (May 7, 1843) and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the majority of which was built by Chinese immigrants (May 10, 1869).

AANHPI Communities, Safety & the U.S. Healthcare System

Limited English proficiency among individuals from AANHPI communities averages 34% but can range upwards of 40-50% for Cambodian and Vietnamese populations. This language barrier, in addition to the lack of medical educational materials, leave these populations at risk for healthcare outcomes and research disparities. There is a long-standing history of racism against members of the AANHPI communities in our country, which has been linked to pain, cardiovascular and other chronic health conditions. From a 2022 PEW survey, approximately 1/3 of Asian Americans have experienced verbal harassment, 1/4 have experienced workplace discrimination, and 10% have experienced physical assaults.

The model minority myth alongside xenophobia may prevent active advocation for the AANHPI communities within Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) groups. A more intentional and intersectional approach to address marginalization and oppression needs to be the focus point for DEI initiatives.

Recommended Resources

BOOKS –

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, Michelle Zauner

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, Cathy Park Hong


EXHIBITS –

 Seattle Asian Art MuseumEmbodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time

 Wing Luke MuseumWing Luke and the Museum

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