Mayor Bruce Teague proclaimed May as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AA & NHPI) in Iowa City during the Tuesday, May 3, 2022, City Council meeting. The proclamation celebrates the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
In 1977, Congress passed, and President Jimmy Carter signed, a joint resolution designating the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. These ten days were chosen in recognition of the first Japanese immigrants arriving in the United States on May 7, 1843; and the May 10, 1869, completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which relied heavily upon Chinese immigrant labor. On May 7, 1990, President George H.W. Bush designated the entire month of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month by Presidential Proclamation. In October of 1992, Congress made the month permanent by law.
The impacts of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders on American history and culture are numerous and wide-ranging, from their valorous service in our armed forces to contributions in the fields of business, education, agriculture, health, and technology.
Yet, their history in America is marked by a struggle for freedom, equality, and justice as they continue to over come adversity, including exclusion, persecution, incarceration, and disparities.
For example, May 18 is the birthday of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in Michigan 1982. His murder fueled a national Asian American activist movement that continues to this day.
The country has seen a staggering rise in bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes against the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Vincent Chin's birthday, May 18 shall be a Day Against Bullying and Hate, Mayor Teague proclaimed.
The proclamation was submitted by the Human Rights Commission and was accepted by Commissioner Mark Pries.