Washington Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

By Kitty Wang

The United States celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month each May. This year, the country’s capital is celebrating the rich culture and legacy of these peoples.

Asian-Pacific Americans make up more than 6% of the total population of the United States, and this number is fast-growing. This ethnic group currently also has 20 representatives in Congress.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, acknowledged their contribution to civic life at the Asian-Pacific-Congress-Institute’s Awards-Gala-Dinner on May 14th, as well as the institute’s initiative.

“Because of your leadership, more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders than ever are organizing and mobilizing, running and winning, and now leading and serving at all levels,” she said.

Other sectors have also benefited. May 2019 marks 150 years since the Transcontinental Railroad was completed—a feat that roughly 12,000 Chinese people contributed to. They were recognized for their efforts at the Department of Transportation’s Heritage Month celebrations.

Li Weixin, founder of the Chinese American Heritage Foundation gave a speech which recognized his connection, as a fifth-generation Chinese American, and descendant of a Transcontinental Railroad worker.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross commemorated these early immigrants and their descendants for their contributions to the United States. Ross encouraged more Asian-Pacific-Americans to participate in all areas of the economy. Ross said that in the ten American cities with the highest concentration of AAPI folks, there’re almost 900 opportunity zones.

NGOs this month are also hosting events in celebration. The Dragon Boat Festival and cultural exhibitions attracted people from a variety of ethnic groups.

President Trump also sent a letter of congratulations.

eSwatini’s Ambassador to the United States echoed the sentiment of the celebrations. Njabuliso Busisiwe Gwebu told NTD reporters, “We are one family.”