Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month
UNITE. EMPOWER. RISE.
The International Festival USA presents a two-hour national celebration in honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The celebration honors the cultures of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and the generations of AAPIs who have helped make Houston one of the most diverse cities in the world. The theme for this year's celebration is "Unite. Empower. Rise. - Celebrating Solidarity, Belonging, and Community. Featuring music and theatrical performances, films, literary presentations, and cultural activities. We will honor this theme by recognizing the significant contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in various industries. We will recognize individuals from the journalism, entertainment, government, business, and nonprofit sectors. May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent (including, but not limited to China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines) 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).
The first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States in May of 1843. In May of 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by over 20,000 Chinese workers who, many have lost their lives in the process due to explosions, avalanches, and other disasters during its construction.Since the 19th Century, thousands of Asians and Pacific Islanders have migrated to America, making their homes throughout Texas and Houston. Asian and Pacific Islander Americans represent a significant portion of the population of the City of Houston, contributing greatly to the economy, politics, and culture of the City.
As a major metropolitan area, Houston is home to many Asian Pacific American communities such as Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Koreatown, Thai Town, and Historic FilipinoTown. Beyond the City of Houston, a large number of Asian Pacific Americans call other areas of Houston their home, further diversifying the fabric of this great City.
ARTS AND CULTURE
The City of Houston benefits from a wealth of Asian and Pacific Islander-influenced cultures. Many museums, cultural centers, historical landmarks, theaters, and dance companies are in the City of Houston. The City offers countless cultural resources that represent the traditions of each Asian and Pacific Islander culture in a unique and exciting way.
The many Asian Pacific American community centers throughout the City provide family programming to a growing population, ensuring that the traditions of the cultures and an appreciation of the histories are shared with our young people and carried on throughout future generations.
Andrew Harry Gee
Director of AAPI Affairs