May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. This month recognizes the many accomplishments and influences of AAPIs in American history, politics, entertainment, and more. We’re incredibly proud to have two Swishboom team members who are a part of this community, Chelsea and Kellee.
"I am so proud to be a Chinese woman. Growing up in Hawaii, I loved celebrating Lunar New Year's every year by eating delicious food and seeing the lion dances at the Cultural Plaza. I try to pass down this pride to my daughters,” said Kellee Mikuls, Founder and CEO of Swishboom.
As we honor this special occasion, here are some ways you can celebrate and participate in the festivities.
One of the best ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is by exploring the delicious and varied cuisines that AAPIs have brought to the United States. From Japanese sushi and Korean barbecue to Vietnamese pho and Chinese dim sum, the options are endless. Try something new by visiting a local Asian market or restaurant, or by trying your hand at cooking a new recipe at home. You can even organize a potluck with friends or colleagues and encourage everyone to bring a dish from a different Asian country.
Another great way to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is by reading books by Asian authors or about Asian Americans. Reading is a powerful tool for promoting understanding and empathy, and there are countless works by Asian American writers that offer insightful and inspiring perspectives on the Asian American experience. Some must-read authors include Celeste Ng, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Amy Tan, and Min Jin Lee. You can also check out award-winning works like The Sympathizer, The Joy Luck Club, and Pachinko, to name a few.
In addition to reading books, you can also watch films and documentaries that showcase the stories and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The documentary series Asian Americans, which aired on PBS in 2020, is a comprehensive and informative look at the history and contributions of AAPIs in the United States. Other films like Crazy Rich Asians, Minari, and The Farewell offer entertaining and heartfelt portrayals of the Asian American experience.
If you're looking to get involved in your local community, there are many events and activities taking place during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Check out local cultural centers, museums, and community organizations for events like dance performances, music concerts, art exhibits, and more. You can also participate in workshops or classes to learn more about Asian arts and crafts, like calligraphy, origami, or martial arts.
Finally, one of the most important ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is by supporting and uplifting Asian American voices and businesses. Due to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination, it's more important than ever to stand in solidarity with the AAPI community. You can do this by supporting Asian-owned businesses, donating to Asian American advocacy organizations, and speaking out against hate and bigotry.
There are many fun and meaningful ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Whether you try new foods, read books by Asian authors, attend cultural events, or support AAPI businesses, every effort counts in honoring the contributions and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Let's use this month as an opportunity to learn, grow, and celebrate the rich diversity of our country.