May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and this year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.” Here, we will raise awareness of the event’s history and celebrate some of the many local accomplishments of AAPI leaders.
The recognition of AAPI Heritage Month originated with Congress in 1978 and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978, proclaiming the event as a week-long celebration (1). Almost 15 years later, AAPI week expanded to a month-long occasion.
May was chosen to represent AAPI month because of two particular historical events. First, it celebrates the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843 (1). Second, it honors the significant contributions of the Chinese pioneers in the creation of the first transcontinental railroad in America, completed on May 10, 1869 (1). In the current day, AAPI Heritage Month is filled with support in celebrating cultural differences and the contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders to American history and culture.
Nationally, many states will feature cultural performances, food festivals, and in-person and virtual activities to highlight the AAPI community. Some events showcase instruments and music of the various AAPI cultures. Other events are engaging activities for children, from making origami paper cranes to reading empowering books by AAPI authors.
In 2015, Ms. Vida Lin founded the Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) to promote the general well-being and education of AAPI and other ethnic communities in Nevada (2). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization distributed over 400,000 pounds of food to AAPI families and administered almost 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines (2). As a multi-million-dollar nonprofit, ACDC provides a range of services, including a food pantry, citizenship assistance, workforce development services, housing assistance, and more. Their work continues to leave a large footprint in supporting AAPI communities in Nevada. Additionally, January 18, 2023, has been officially recognized as Vida Lin Day in Las Vegas by Mayor Goodman and the City Council of Las Vegas (3).
Visit the Asian Community Development Council website to learn more about the non-profit.
Read more about AAPI Heritage Month: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- History and Overview – Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide – Research Guides at Library of Congress. Accessed May 1, 2023. https://guides.loc.gov/asian-pacific-american-heritage-month-legal-guide/history-overview
- AAPI Nevadans: The challenges and triumphs. Accessed May 1, 2023. https://knpr.org/show/knprs-state-of-nevada/2022-05-20/aapi-nevadans-the-challenges-and-triumphs
- JANUARY 18, 2023: VIDA LIN DAY PROCLAIMED IN LAS VEGAS – ACDC – Asian Community Development Council. Accessed May 1, 2023. https://acdcnv.org/press-release/january-18-2023/