May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage MonthJOHN L. JUNKINS
May 5, 2021
This month we mark Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
The history of this important month can be traced to a moment 45 years ago. After the nationwide celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, one woman noticed that the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans seemed to be overlooked. There was a reason she was adamant about this issue. Her great-grandfather had been one of the 15,000 to 20,000 Chinese laborers who had endured difficult working conditions and poor wages to help build a vast stretch of the Transcontinental Railroad. Of course, Asian Pacific Americans have contributed in many other ways to the fabric of our nation.
Over the years, legislators searched for a way to recognize the essential impact and influence of Asian Pacific Americans. In 1978, Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was established. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed legislation annually designating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In 2009, it was renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Texas A&M is proud to be home to students, faculty and staff from a variety of different backgrounds and from regions around the world. During this month, and throughout the year, I hope you will continue to acknowledge and express your gratitude for the many contributions of Asian Pacific Americans in our classrooms, our research laboratories and our university community.
Thanks and Gig ‘Em,
John L. Junkins