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Celebrating AAPI Heritage: From History to Cuisine and Beyond

Celebrating AAPI Heritage: From History to Cuisine and Beyond

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) often remain unsung in the narrative of United States history. Hawaii, for instance, joined the union in 1959. Still, it wasn't until two decades later that we formally acknowledged the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by establishing Asian Pacific Heritage Week. In 1992 May was officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month marking a dedicated effort to honor these communities’ impact on our nation's history. May was selected to commemorate two significant events: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the U.S. in May 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869, a monumental project constructed by over 20,000 Chinese laborers. (Read: Asian American Milestones).

Understanding AAPI

AAPI represents the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, capturing a vibrant spectrum of cultures that includes approximately 50 ethnic groups and over 100 languages. This diverse community encompasses individuals of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Hawaiian, and other Asian and Pacific Islander ancestries. According to the 2020 Census, there are 20.6 million people who identify as Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander, accounting for 6.2% of the nation's population.

Celebrate!

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by learning about and practicing aspects of their vibrant culture and history, experiencing everything from the unique flavors and arts to music and current events.

Discover the history and culture of AAPI through film and television. Start with documentaries to learn specific historical context and current perspectives. For lighter viewing, enjoy sitcoms that celebrate Asian American families and everyday experiences—perfect for unwinding or enjoying with loved ones. Check out the AAPI Heritage Month section on Netflix for a curated selection of relevant titles. Might we suggest Kim’s Convenience?

Deepen your knowledge away from the screen by reading works from renowned Asian American authors like Amy Tan, Celeste Ng, and Min Jin Lee. Their books intricately depict Asian American life through compelling narratives (Read: 10 Influential Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors Published by PBS). For a more historical perspective, consider "The Making of Asian America" by Erika Lee, which explores pivotal moments in Asian American history.

Explore Asian cuisine! At home, try your hand at making traditional dishes like sushi rolls or chicken adobo to fully appreciate their flavors and techniques. Visit local Asian restaurants to sample a broader range of dishes, such as Korean bibimbap or Vietnamese pho, and discover the depth and variety of Asian culinary traditions.

Jump right in! Welcome in AAPI voices with Asian American podcasts. Podcasts give you personalities directly from the community, discussing relevant issues, celebrating achievements, and delving into cultural intricacies that shape the diverse AAPI identity.

Evergreen is proud to partner with several Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations and hosts to help elevate their message. Our Voices of India collection, for instance, presents a dynamic range of Indian podcasts. Enjoy everything from Bollywood updates with Khandaan A Bollywood Podcast and Anupama Chopra Review and Interviews to Sports Weekly, Hindi Horror and much more!

Our Voices of Japan collection drops you into the vibrant streets of Tokyo with regular updates from Iida Koji and Jiro Shimbo. It also explores Japanese American culture in the United States, featuring insights from Kawaii Otaku girls. Discover the multifaceted cultures and uncover the secrets of Japanese tradition and contemporary life. Let Voices of Japan serve as your guide to an authentic and memorable exploration of this fascinating nation.

Stay connected with the evolving stories within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities through these podcasts. Keep an eye out, as we intend to highlight more of our exceptional hosts in future blog posts this month, celebrating the diverse and rich tapestry of the AAPI community.

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