Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

asian pacific american month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM), celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The month of May was chosen 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. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Asian Americans make up 17.3 million, or 5.6 percent, of the U.S. population.  A wide range of ethnic groups makes up the Asian-Pacific American population. Chinese Americans stand out as the largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S with a population of 3.8 million. Filipinos come in second with 3.4 million. Indians (3.2 million), Vietnamese (1.7 million), Koreans (1.7 million) and Japanese (1.3 million) round out the major Asian ethnic groups in the U.S.

Who is an Asian American?

Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The term refers to a panethnic group that includes diverse populations who have ancestral origins in East Asia, Southeast Asia, or South Asia, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Major Pacific Islands

• Fiji  • Kiribati  • Marshall Islands   • Micronesia  • Northern Marianas  • Palau
• Papua New Guinea  • Samoa  • The Philippines   • Solomon Islands  • Tanga

Past Health Power Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Honorees

Health Power has honored a wide number of outstanding AAPI honorees. To find out who they have been, and why they were honored at the time, click here to view these honorees.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Cuisine 

The cuisine of Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans varies slightly from culture to culture and is a blend of native foods and European, Japanese, American, and Asian influences. As with many cultures, food plays a central role in the culture.  Seafood, particularly fish, has long been the primary dietary staple and source of protein for Pacific Islanders. Nearly 300 varieties of fish are found in the waters of Polynesia alone. Root vegetables and tubers, such as taro (also known as a cocoyam), sweet potatoes, and yams, are also central to the diet of the region. A wide variety of tropical fruits are also eaten in large quantities. These include bananas, plantains (similar bananas), mangoes, papayas, and pineapples.

Visit our website’s Asian American Channel and try out one or more of our Asian recipes to join in celebrating this month.


Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!

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