May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - AANHPI Heritage Month


More than 50 ethnic groups fall under the AANHPI umbrella. Chinese dragon dance performance, left, Hawaiian hula dancers, astronaut Ellison Onizuka — the first Asian American to fly in space, origami by PAUL SPELLAU

The month of May is designated as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States, which recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture, and achievements of our nation. Recognizing and honoring the contributions of diverse cultural groups is essential for fostering inclusivity and understanding in our society. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have enriched our nation with their unique perspectives, traditions, and accomplishments, and by dedicating a month to celebrate their heritage, we promote a more comprehensive and accurate narrative of American history.

From AARP by Jennifer Ortiz- People who identify under the AANHPI banner encompass a wide range of countries, ethnicities, nationalities and identities, making up 6.2 percent of the U.S. population – that’s 20.6 million people, according to 2020 census data. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Asians made up 24.7 million of the population while Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders made up 1.8 million in 2022, the most recent data available.

“Often when we talk about Asian Americans that rich diversity is lost. The term ‘Asian American’ is sometimes used to just refer to East Asians, or just to larger groups like Chinese and Indian Americans, but that leaves out millions who are very much part of the Asian American story,” says Aalok Kanani, chief digital and communications officer at Asia Society.

In fact, there are more than 50 ethnic groups and over 100 languages that fall into the AANHPI umbrella, says Leanne Day, assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Congress established the heritage month in 1992 (first as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month) to honor the arrival of Japanese immigrants in May 1843 and Chinese workers’ role in building the transcontinental railroad, which was completed in May 1869. In 2021, the White House expanded the commemorative month to include Native Hawaiians.

Day hopes that through the heritage month’s various events, people will dive further into critical conversations about AANHPI diversity, history, exclusion within the larger demographic and the various groups’ relationships to the U.S.

“AANHPI is a chance for us at Asia Society, and broadly in the Asian American community, to help Americans understand and celebrate the diversity of our communities,” adds Kanani.

Famous Asian American entrepreneurs in technology:

  • Ajay Bhatt (co-inventor of the USB)
  • Josephine Santiago-Bond (NASA Advanced Engineering Development Branch leader)
  • Don Chang (founder of Forever 21)
  • Pehong Chen (Gain Technology founder)
  • Steven Chen (co-founder of YouTube)
  • Andrew Cherng (co-founder of Panda Express)
  • Peggy Cherng (co-founder of Panda Express)
  • James Chu (founder of ViewSonic)
  • Morgan Chu (famous IP attorney)
  • Tony Hsieh (former Zappos CEO and founder of LinkExchange)
  • Frank Jao (prominent California businessman)
  • Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun Microsystems)
  • Jeong H. Kim (tech entrepreneur)
  • Steve Y. Kim (tech entrepreneur)
  • Lata Krishnan (tech entrepreneur)
  • Alfred Lin (venture capitalist & COO/CFO of
  • William Mow (former CEO of Bugle Boy Industries)
  • Ted Ngoy (entrepreneur known as the “The Donut King”)
  • Amanda Nguyen (CEO and founder of Rise Up)
  • Bill Nguyen (tech entrepreneur)
  • Mai Nguyen (co-founder of the Asian American Farmers Alliance)
  • Indra Nooyi (Pepsico CEO)
  • Scott Oki (former SVP of Microsoft)
  • Jennifer O’Neal (former co-head of Blizzard Entertainment/Activision)
  • Source: ongig
More News from Raritan
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified