Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Published on May 01, 2022
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the City of Lakewood joins the federal and state governments and hundreds of public and private organizations in paying tribute to this important commemoration.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders cover a broad span of peoples, encompassing all of those whose ancestors originally hail from the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. This diverse and growing population makes up about 7 percent of the total U.S. population, and at least 15% of Lakewood residents are of Asian/Pacific Islander decent.
A key element of Lakewood’s Community Dialogue on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is celebrating the diversity of cultures and people in Lakewood.
On behalf of the Lakewood City Council, Mayor Steve Croft has issued a proclamation(PDF, 484KB) in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Asian migration to North America
According to the Bering Land Bridge Theory, Asians first migrated to North America over 15,000 years ago through a land bridge between Asia and North America. In the 16th century, Filipinos who were escaping forced labor and enslavement during the Spanish galleon trade immigrated to North America, eventually establishing a settlement in St. Malo, Louisiana in 1763. During the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, a wave of Asian immigrants came to the West Coast and provided labor for gold mines, factories and the transcontinental railroad. In 1882, Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration for 20 years.
As pointed out by History.com, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed significantly to many facets of American culture and society, including science and medicine, literature and art, sports and recreation, government and politics, and activism and law.
There has been increased visibility in recent years by several groundbreaking milestones: Kamala Harris became the first Asian American Vice President of the United States, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” debuted as Marvel’s first live-action Asian superhero and South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, a first for a foreign language film.
Resources to learn more
The Los Angeles County Public Library has a wealth of resources to explore, including booklists for adults, teens and kids.
The site offers activity ideas to commemorate the month, including children's craft kits for a Japanese Koinobori fish kite and Hawaiian leis, which will be distributed free at Lakewood’s county libraries in May.
The library’s Asian Pacific Resource Center Facebook page is also continuously updated with programs and useful resources for everyone to enjoy.