May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
In June 1978, Rep. Frank Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
Adapted from The Library of Congress https://www.asianpacificheritage.gov/about/
Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian woman to go up in space in 1997. On February 1, 2003, as a member of the ill-fated Columbia shuttle crew, Chawla would be honored for a life she lived too briefly--but during which she realized spectacular achievements against great odds. She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. .
Read more about Kalpana Chawla
"Kalpana Chawla." Gale Biography Online Collection, Gale, 2004. Gale In Context: Biography.
In 2021 Chloe Zhao became the first female filmmaker to win a Golden Globe for Best Director since 1983 and the first woman of color to win an Academy Award for best director. The acclaimed Chinese American auteur won the awards for Nomadland, an independent drama starring actress Frances McDormand. Zhao received a total of four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. Zhao also became the second woman to win a BAFTA award for directing after Nomadland landed four nominations.
"Chloé Zhao." Gale Biography Online Collection, Gale, 2021. Gale In Context: Biography.
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