Robins celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By APAH Committee
Robins is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a list of events and activities that will include something for everyone.

The planning committee, which has more than 50 members, has been event planning since February to ensure the month is a success and everyone has the chance to come out, support and get a taste of the Asian Pacific American Heritage culture. 

According to Capt. Jesse Herrera, Observance Month Committee liaison officer, the big events to look out for are the APAH Cultural Fair on May 15 and the grand finale, the APAH Family Party on May 29.

"The fair will have cultural display from Guam, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Samoa, Hawaii and Vietnam," he said. "Each tent will have some food tasting." 

Foods will include such delicacies as sushi, coconut candy, guyuria (pronounced gu-zu-ria), roskette (pronounced rose-ke-ti) and more. The fair will also sell Bento Boxes, which are APAH lunch boxes, for $5.

To culminate Asian Pacific American Heritage month, the committee is sponsoring the APAH Family Party.

"We are planning to infuse your night with APAH entertainment to include an APAH buffet where you can get a taste of the Asian Pacific American Heritage culture," said Capt. Herrera. "The party will be May 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. We promise you will not be disappointed."

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was enacted by Public Law 102-450 on October 28, 1992. The purpose of the law was to honor the achievements of Asian Pacific Americans and to recognize their contributions to the United States.

This recognition was the culmination of the efforts of Jeanie Jew in the 1970's to establish Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Following the United States bicentennial in 1976, Ms. Jew realized that Asian Pacific Americans were "excluded from those stories during celebrations of the country's bicentennial. We were literally ignored even though we were part of building this country."

A year later, Ms. Jew enlisted the support of Rep. Frank Horton, R-N.Y., who, along with Rep. Norman Mineta, D-Calif, introduced House Resolution 540. This resolution proclaimed the first 10 days of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced similar legislation into the Senate.

May was selected for the recognition because two significant events in history took place in that month: Japanese immigrants first arrived in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day). Furthermore, since school is still in session during May, educators could capitalize on the opportunity to include APA history into the curriculum.

On Oct. 2, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Joint Resolution and the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was celebrated in May 1979. In 1992, the week was expanded to a month-long recognition when President George Bush signed the law permanently designating May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The law was unanimously supported by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.