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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is a time to celebrate our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities' diversity (AAPI). Congress chose the month of May to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 [1].

This month of remembrance and celebration of AAPI communities comes when the rise in anti-Asian racism is impacting AAPI communities. Stop AAPI Hate received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian incidents nationwide between March 19, 2020 – February 28, 2021 [2]. Fourteen percent of these reports originated in New York State [2]. And many AAPI individuals reported that no one stepped in to help them when they were being harassed or assaulted. We must all strive to be Upstanders and do our part as individuals to speak up against injustice and create positive change in our communities.

During the month of May, NYSCADV is acknowledging and honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders, advocates, and organizations that have been working tirelessly to end systemic oppression and discrimination.

NYSCADV is participating in virtual activities throughout May to celebrate AAPI communities. We encourage you to join us by learning more about how you can celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

To learn more about AAPI history, check out these resources:

  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: A collaborative project of several federal institutions, including the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and National Endowment for the Humanities, showcasing exhibits and collections that celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history. https://www.asianpacificheritage.gov 
  • PBS Ancestors in the Americas: The website is an exploration of Asian American history and experiences. http://www.pbs.org/ancestorsintheamericas/index.html

Check out these AAPI organizations making positive strides in communities:

  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: A national organization founded in 1974, protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. https://www.aaldef.org/
  • Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (APIGBV): APIGBV Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence analyzes the types, dynamics, and cultural context of gender violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, including domestic violence, sexual violence, domestic violence related homicide, abusive international marriages, elder abuse, HIV & IPV, forced marriage, and trafficking. https://www.api-gbv.org/ 
  • National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF): Focused on building power with AAPI women and girls to influence critical decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities. Using a reproductive justice framework, NAPAWF elevates AAPI women and girls to impact policy and drive systemic change in the United States. https://www.napawf.org/
  • Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC): Based in NYC, AAFSC empowers immigrants and refugees with the tools they need to successfully acclimate to the world around them and become active participants in their communities. https://www.aafscny.org/ 
  • Saathi: Empower people of South Asian origin in Western New York who are experiencing domestic violence to regain their dignity and rebuild their lives by becoming self-confident and self-sufficient. https://www.saathiofrochester.org/
  • Sakhi: Based in NYC, Sakhi is committed to serving survivors through a combination of efforts including—but not limited to—direct services, advocacy and organizing, technical assistance, and community outreach.  https://www.sakhi.org/#
  • Womankind: Based in NYC, Womankind provides multilingual and culturally responsive services to help survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence rise above trauma and build a path to healing. https://www.iamwomankind.org/

References

[1] Library of Congress. About Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Available here: https://asianpacificheritage.gov/

[2] Jeung, Russell, Yellow Horse, Popovic, and Lim. 2021. Stop AAPI Hate National Report 3.19.20 – 2.28.2021. Available: https://secureservercdn.net/104.238.69.231/a1w.90d.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/210312-Stop-AAPI-Hate-National-Report-.pdf