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Celebrating Asian American, Pacific Islander Heritage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kyla Gifford
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

Congress established Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week in 1978 to recognize the contributions to U.S. history and culture by Asian and Pacific-Islander Americans. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration to the entire month.

On Oct. 23, 1992, Congress officially designated May of each year as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was selected as a way to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843.

A rather broad term, Asian American and Pacific Islander encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia the island groups of the Western and Central Pacific, such as the Philippines and the Marianas; and Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S. About 5 percent of the population of the U.S. is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

We celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among more than 56 ethnic groups (speaking over 100 languages) from Asia and the Pacific Islands who live in the United States.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to U.S. military operations throughout the past 100 years. As an Air Force that’s rich in diversity, the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is yet another opportunity to remember and appreciate the patriotism and selfless sacrifices they’ve made, not only to our military, but our country as well.

Vandenberg AFB will host a Diversity Day July 2017, to pay tribute to all American ethnic groups who have contributed to the diversity and strength of our great country.