May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in Massachusetts, a perfect time to recognize the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched Massachusetts’ and America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.
Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent 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).
Here is just a selection of ways to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in Massachusetts:
The State Library of Massachusetts has on display in its main reading room at the State House a rare copy of the Chinese Directory of New England, 1931 and 1932. It offers a fascinating glimpse at Boston’s Chinese community some 90 years ago, and the businesses that were thriving in Chinatown.
The John F. Kennedy Library & Museum in Boston is celebrating on May 7 with a performance by master storyteller Robert Kituchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec, with stories of folktales and myths from Asian cultures.
The Town of Lexington is celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in Lexington with a series of activities throughout the month, including a photo exhibit, library books display and cooking tips, along with a proclamation from the town.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is celebrating with a display of books and resources from the school’s Gordon Library, plus stories on STEM scholars
Massachusetts has an Asian-American and Pacific Islanders Commission, a permanent body that works to recognize and highlight the vital contributions of Asian Americans to the social, cultural and political life of the Commonwealth. You can follow its activities on Facebook, including a Unity Dinner set for May 7 at UMass in Lowell.
The Pao Arts Center in Boston is holding a community celebration on May 14 on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway near Chinatown, featuring artists, singers and dancers.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 population estimates, the Asian-American population in Massachusetts is 448,000, representing 6.6% of residents, with significant numbers in Quincy, Lowell, Malden, Lexington, Brookline, Cambridge, Burlington and Boston.