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Drexel Library

Drexel Libraries Celebrates Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)

Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with the Drexel University Libraries

Chinese baseball team in Hawaii

The Drexel University Libraries celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in May by honoring the contributions of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. [Learn more via]

The 2022 Asia/Pacific American Heritage Month theme, “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration” [Federal Asian Pacific American Council], is the start of the new theme series for 2021-2024 highlighting efforts in “Advancing Leaders”. Join us as we "celebrate the contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history, society, and culture." 

This resource guide includes information and resources about just a few of the people and some of the research and creative works that have inspired us – and we hope they will inspire you throughout the year!

Note: This guide is a work in progress –  please keep checking back for new content throughout the month!

About Asian/Pacific Heritage Month

A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In the same year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 72. Neither of these resolutions passed, so in June 1978, Rep. Horton introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law 95-419. This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Learn more

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 2022: Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration

[Federal Asian Pacific American Council]

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Event Highlights

May 2022: Drexel Asian Students Association Events

The ASA is an organization that aims to spread awareness of Asian heritage for the benefit of the Drexel community. 

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May 4: Knife Skills: Korean Bibimbap 

Award-winning chef and culinary instructor Clara Park will lead us in making delicious Korean bibimbap. Hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Learn more and RSVP


May 7: Philadelphia Arab Community Day 

Join Al-Bustan and Philadelphia Arabs for our annual Arab Community Day at Penn Treaty Park.

Learn more and RSVP


May 14: Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia's Asian Pacific American Heritage Celebration: Asian Fest

Admission is free, and there will be live cultural entertainment, Asian arts and crafts, and Asian food vendors.

Learn more

May 18: Talking Diversity -- Renew and Rebuild: Our Communities and Beyond 

This presentation will honor the history, culture, and contributions of Asian Pacific Americans as well as recognize the issues affecting the AANHPI community and how we can all show up as agents of change for ourselves as well as others. 

Learn more and RSVP


May 18: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders: A Philadelphia Story

Live panel discussion with producers and people featured in the WHYY Specials, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders: A Philadelphia Story.

Learn more and RSVP


May 26: RISE: A Love Letter to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community 

The City of Philadelphia invites you to join the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in an evening of dance, music, and an incredibly special opportunity to hear from two national icons, Jeff Yang and Phil Yu. 

Learn more and RSVP

National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Event Highlights

May 7: Russell Jeung, Anti-Asian Hate in the Time of COVID

Author and Professor Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, discusses the shifting media landscape amidst anti-Asian hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Learn more and RSVP


May 10: Symposium on Library Services for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Community

An Authentic Lens: Understanding and Supporting the Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Community. Hosted by San Jose State University. 

Learn more and RSVP


May 17: HERstory II: The Legal History of Chinese American Women

Join us for an event with the curator of the exhibit, Dr. Chang C. Chen, Ph.D., J.D.

Join HERstory II via Zoom at 1pm EST on 5/17/22


May 19: Chinese American History, Asian American Experiences

Join us as we celebrate under-told Chinese American stories and understand their place in our rich tapestry.

Learn more and RSVP


May 23: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022

The UC Berkeley Library invites you to a virtual celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Learn more and RSVP


May 24: Highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Library Collections

Discover special items from the New York Public Library's research collections centered on themes of immigration and assimilation, community, food, and AAPI activism. 

Learn more and RSVP


May 25: Reframe and Refresh: Unpacking AAPI Identity

Join New Day Films for a discussion unpacking the different aspects of AAPI identity.

Learn more and RSVP


May 26: AAPI Culinary Panel

Join Jackson District Library to discuss the preservation and celebration of panelists' culinary heritages. 

Learn more and RSVP

May 31: Path to Leadership: Mixed Race Voices in the Asian Pacific Islander Community

Join a panel of mixed-race Asian Pacific Islanders who will talk about how they navigate their identity and create community.

Learn more and RSVP


June 17: Ho'okele Na'auao 2022

Hoʻokele Naʻauao: A Hawaiian Librarianship Symposium 2022. This year focused on "ʻĀina: Sources & Systems". 

Learn more and RSVP

Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

2022 event highlights compiled by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  

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Los Angeles Public Library Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Los Angeles Public Library events celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in May 2022.

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National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Events via Eventbrite

Nationwide events celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in 2022.

Learn more


Now Streaming: Residual Trauma: The Island of Dokdo

This online program is available for on-demand viewing via the Hennepin County Library from May 1 until May 30. 

Learn more

Drexel DISHA & Pragathi Flashmob

Rotten Tomatoes on Twitter: "The 81 Best Asian-American Movies of All Time"

Check out the display in the W. W. Hagerty Library

Physical display case at W.W. Hagerty Library displaying books and artifacts related to the celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Recommended Reading: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Libraries Staff Spotlight: Jay Bhatt & the Asian Pacific Heritage Month Celebration hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia

Drexel Librarian Jay Bhatt Keynote Speaker at Asian Pacific Heritage Month Celebrations hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia, 2013 & 2015

Jay Bhatt and colleagues from the USACE pose2013 session: Building Leadership: Embracing Cultural Values and Inclusion

"In today's global world, as technology and culture are being integrated across the boundaries, it becomes crucial that we explore salient aspects various cultures and introspect how they can inspire us in developing leadership skills. In this presentation, we will explore values from Asian regions as China, India, and Japan. A leader envisions, takes action, shows courage, takes meaningful risks, and steers his or her organization from the midst of chaos. He or she can also lift a thriving organization to the next higher level. So, in what ways do these different cultures represent their value system to inspire creative, and sustaining leadership? In Chinese culture, the leader is normally the Head of his family. What if we consider our organization as a family and a leader as devoted Head of this family and steers the organization with loyalty, commitment and vision? From the Indian perspectives, even mindedness is considered as a valuable trait for a person to thrive in any situation. Even mindedness is the ability to remain calm and control mind in such a way that no situation can perturb human action in a negative way. Can leader acquire this trait through practice and mediation and guide his or her organization to the pinnacle? This presentation highlights the positive value system from the Asia Pacific region to help us build, develop and sustain leadership skills."

Close up on inscribed Liberty Bell trophy/plaque awarded to Jay Bhatt

2015 session: Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion

"The United States has recognized the month of May as a time to acknowledge the achievements and contributions to the American story by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians (AAPIs). 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. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843. It was also chosen to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869." This presentation featured the accomplishments of actors, artists, journalists, doctors, astronauts, musicians, and much more.

[Photo credits: USACE, Tim Boyle]

Celebrate Asian/Pacific Heritage Month with the Free Library

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage MonthHonor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Your Family [Free Library of Philadelphia]

In the month of May, we celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of the diverse Americans who belong to communities with ancestry in Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Pacific Islands. That’s a lot of different countries, cultures, and languages!

The month of May was chosen to commemorate two events: the first Japanese immigrants to the United States arrived in May of 1843 and the Transcontinental Railroad, built mainly by Chinese immigrants in forced labor conditions, was completed in May of 1869. Though, as you might guess, the history of AAPI people in the U.S. is much longer than that.

Be sure to check out the Free Library's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month reading list!

Celebrate 2022 Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with the City of Philadelphia

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! | Mayor's Office of  Public Engagement | City of PhiladelphiaCelebrate 2022 Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month! [City of Philadelphia]

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month! Established by the U.S. Congress in the 1990s, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month highlights the stories of people in the United States who are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. This includes people from the Asian continent and islands across the South Pacific including Hawaii, American Samoa, Federated Islands of Micronesia, Guam, and more.

This May, the City of Philadelphia and many community organizations are hosting celebrations as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! 

The School District of Philadelphia Celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Amplify Asian voices. Proud to be Asian. Stand with us.The School District of Philadelphia: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 2022


The School District of Philadelphia is hosting various AAPI Month events and discussions for School District of Philadelphia teachers and non-District teachers. Learn more about the School District of Philadelphia’s events and resources here.

Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia


"We aim to provide a common platform to the various Asian member organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area for pursuing their common goals and sharing their concerns.

We try to promote, coordinate and support joint efforts in the social, cultural, educational and charitable activities of the member organizations, provide civic and political education to the people of Asian origin and encourage their participation in public affairs and to enhance their contribution to the society at large.

We strive to foster friendship and understanding between people of Asian origin and others, to act as a spokesperson for the Asian community in the Greater Philadelphia area, raise funds to provide services to Asian Community, thus, aiming to start more productive more joyful lives."

Timeline: A history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philadelphia

Timeline: A history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philadelphia


In May 2020PBS broadcast a groundbreaking five-part documentary series called Asian Americans that chronicled the contributions and challenges of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) throughout our nation’s history. This was a significant milestone for representation in public television and an excellent educational resource unto itself. Acknowledging the rich untold Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history in Philadelphia, WHYY then began work on a local series – Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: A Philadelphia Story


Spanning from the late 1700s to present day, the timeline is divided into six periods based on legislative context, immigration trends, and overarching narratives that characterize the experiences of the AAPI community in each era. Given the exceptional diversity of these communities, the production team acknowledges that not all of the events included will reflect the lived experiences of all members of the AAPI demographic. However, we hope this will aid others both within and beyond the AAPI community to better understand the historical trends experienced by these communities at-large.  

Brief History of Asian American Activism and the Fight for Space in Philadelphia

Help Save Chinatown! Flier from 1973"Brief History of Asian American Activism and the Fight for Space in Philadelphia" []

Although Chinatown organizations fought and ultimately lost their bid to stop a freeway from being constructed through the heart of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, the community did not give up its fight to retain and reclaim cultural and community space from developers and the government. In 2000, Mayor John Street’s administration announced plans to potentially move the Philadelphia Phillies baseball stadium to his preferred site of Chinatown. The city’s proposal claimed that this would help local businesses prosper. Chinatown community organizations knew that the payoff of a stadium would hurt rather than benefit the community, as evidenced by the freeway and the recently installed convention center. [Image via WHYY]

Explore the Collections at FLP: 'Asian Americans'

Explore the Collections at FPL: 'Asian Americans'Explore the Collections at the FLP: 'Asian Americans' [Free Library of Philadelphia]


Asian American resources for teens, cultural traditions and celebrations, biographies on famous Asian Americans, history of different Asian ethnic groups in America, lesson plans for teachers to explore a variety of Asian cultures, Asian ancestry, and information and resources for the local Asian American community.

APALA Virtual Events Flyer for AAPI Heritage Month 2022

Free Virtual Library & Cultural Center Events to Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 

Linked is a lineup of free live virtual events organized by Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association members from across the country (and Canada). Enjoy these author talks, cooking demos, information panels and more. [Via APALA member Michelle Lee.]

Free Virtual Library & Cultural Center Events to Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The May Book Project

The Very Asian Foundation and We Need Diverse Books launch The May Book Project

In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, The Very Asian Foundation, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, launches The May Book Project to help schools and libraries build and maintain robust Asian American youth literature collections.

We are raising national awareness of the need to create inclusive libraries, give readers access to up-to-date Asian American literature, and provide funding for donating books to libraries.

Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE)

Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) 

Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) was founded in 1987, during the height of a five-year fight against a series of discriminatory admission policy directed against Asian Pacific American applicants at the University of California, Berkeley, and several research universities across the nation. At a conference on the admission fight convened in Oakland, California, participants uniformly felt the need for an organization that would address issues affecting Asian Pacific American students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Out of that conference emerged APAHE, which became a national organization on June 23, 2000.

Spotlight on Asian Feminist Organizations

Philly Asians 4 Liberation and Mutual solidarity palms graphic Philly Asians 4 Liberation and Mutual Solidarity (PA4LMS)

Philly Asians 4 Liberation & Mutual Solidarity is a group of queer Asian artists and activists living in occupied Lenni Lenape territory known today as Philadelphia. Formed emergently during the George Floyd protests in 2020, our group started out as a loose collective of friends interested in reflecting together and learning how to be better accomplices in the struggle for Black liberation. We began serving homemade food as a form of care at protests and providing mutual aid. We are committed to deepening our solidarity with Black and Brown comrades fighting for abolition and racial and economic justice. Remaining agile and responsive to community needs, we see our work as evolving and shape-shifting, engaging in mutual aid, direct action, political education, and more.

Asian American Feminist Collective

Asian American Feminist Collective (AAFC)

Asian American Feminist Collective (AAFC) is a grassroots racial and gender justice group based in New York City engaging in intersectional feminist politics grounded within our diasporic communities. We work to interrogate and dismantle systems of racism, imperialism, patriarchy, and capitalism and are deeply invested in abolition, queer liberation, cross-racial solidarity, and collective joy. 

Together and with our partners, AAFC curates community events, tells our stories through various modes of feminist media, and provides spaces for identity exploration, political education, community building, and advocacy. 

Asian/American feminism is a world-building project of endless love, solidarity, and imagination. The beauty of the Asian American feminist movement is that we can continue to shape and evolve it together, and we need you! Wherever you are on your political journey and whether or not you consider yourself an activist, we welcome you to come to an event, partner with us on a project or initiative close to your heart, and join our community of feminists building towards a brighter and more just future.

Red Canary Song logoRed Canary Song

We are a grassroots massage worker coalition in the U.S. There are over 9000 workplaces like these across the country with no political representation, or access to labor rights or collective organizing. Anti-trafficking NGO’s that claim to speak for migrants in sex trades promote increased policing and immigration control, which harms rather than helps migrant sex workers. We also organize transnationally with Asian sex workers across the diaspora in Toronto, Paris, and Hong Kong.


Women’s Foundation California and the Kiskadee podcast: Listen to Yuri’s Legacy

Black and white photograph of Yuri Kochiyama

Women’s Foundation California and the Kiskadee podcast: Listen to Yuri’s Legacy

Casual confidant to Malcom X, a gifted community organizer, and tireless advocate for justice, Yuri Kochiyama [Wikipedia] saw, spoke, and embodied the power of solidarity in her over 90 years of life. Bia Vierra sits down with her granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama to talk about Yuri’s legacy and how we can continue to strive for social justice. 

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley Public Library: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with The Berkeley Public Library

Join the Berkeley Public Library for a range of programs for the whole family throughout May! Featured content also includes reading lists for both adults and children, as well as curated collections like "Japanese American Experience" and "Archives Unbound".  

The Los Angeles Public Library Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

LA Public Library Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The Los Angeles Public Library Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Check out exhibits, videos, podcasts, photograph collections and more to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the Los Angeles Public Library! Discover new titles in fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels and explore recommendations for Adult, Young Adult and Children's readers. 

12 Amazing Asian Americans You Didn’t Learn About School

famous asian americans"12 Amazing Asian Americans You Didn’t Learn About School" [Reader's Digest]

When you think back to history class, you probably remember learning about things like the 13 original American colonies, the Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution. But what about Asian Americans? Though more than 20 million Americans trace their ancestry back to various parts of Asia, the stories of Asian Americans are largely left out of the history lessons we learn in American schools. To mark Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, here are the stories of 12 amazing Asian Americans that you may not have heard of, but have each made incredible contributions to the lives we all live today. Discover 18 history lessons your teacher probably lied to you about.

How One Woman's Story Led to the Creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Jeanie Jew"How One Woman's Story Led to the Creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month" [TIME]

The national Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month holiday was first proposed in 1976 by former Congressional staffer Jeanie Jew. Jew’s great-grandfather had immigrated from China in the 1800s, worked building the transcontinental railroad at a time of intense anti-Asian hate, and then lost his life to violence. She believed that the historical contributions of Asian Americans deserved recognition, within their own communities and beyond. In 1992, the week-long observance became a full month.

Dr. Chang Chen Documents the Stories of Chinese Women

Dr. Chang C. Chen launches an exhibit on Chinese American women in San Francisco Main Library. Photo by Portia Li.

“Dr. Chang Chen has documented stories of Chinese American women” [Wind Newspaper]

Dr. Chang C. Chen earned a Ph. D in biochemistry and a law degree. She is also a writer who has authored over 50 books. In recent years, she is dedicated to documenting the stories of the Chinese American women who had fought for their equal rights through legal proceedings that led to rewriting American history. Pictured: Dr. Chang C. Chen launches an exhibit on Chinese American women in San Francisco Main Library. Photo by Portia Li.

APIA Biography Project

Asian Pacific Islander American Biography Project logo APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) Biography Project

The Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Biography Project began in AY 2012-13 under Lorraine Dong and Jeannie Woo, professors of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. It was inspired by a 2010 publication entitled Crossing Boundaries: Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, written by Irene Dea Collier and Lora Meilin Collier, illustrated by Janine Macbeth and published by The Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT).

Smithsonian "Because of HERStory": Folk Musician Nobuko Miyamoto

Nobuko Miyamoto holds a pink scarf that flows across her body. Album title and artist plus a small star logo that says Asian Pacific AmericaFolk Musician Nobuko Miyamoto and Eight More Women to Know this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In 1973, performers Nobuko Miyamoto, Chris Iijima, and Charlie Chin released the album A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America. Regarded by many as the first album of Asian American music, their album has roots in American folk music revival, blues, soul, and jazz. 

This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, learn about nine women who shaped American culture. Their achievements are represented across the Smithsonian's collections. 

Pictured: album cover for Nobuko Miyamoto’s 120,000 Stories, 2021. Produced by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.