JEFFERSON CITY, MO - May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, which celebrates the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. Originally designated as a weeklong event in 1978, President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration into a monthlong event in 1992. On May 1, 2020, Governor Mike Parson officially proclaimed May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month for the first time in Missouri history.
This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution, many Asian/Pacific American Heritage events traditionally celebrated across Missouri in May have been postponed. However, through the joint efforts of the Missouri Department of Labor’s (DOLIR’s) Commission of Human Rights, the Missouri Office of Administration’s Office of Equal Opportunity, the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Diversity and Inclusion Employee Council and the Missouri Department of Economic Development, individuals everywhere can take a virtual journey across Missouri without ever leaving their home. The joint partnership created an interactive online newsletter that highlights the rich and diverse Asian/Pacific American history in Missouri. With just a click, individuals can view information about local events, as well as stories, videos and articles.
“Asian/Pacific Americans have a rich heritage, over thousands of years old, which has shaped both the history of our country and this state while dramatically influencing our mutual success,” said DOLIR Director Anna Hui. “Missouri greatly benefits from the contributions of this diverse population and the many achievements of all its citizens. While many families are spending time together at home this month, this virtual tour of Missouri and its Asian/Pacific American history showcase are both enjoyable and educational.”
"I'm incredibly grateful for the work of everyone who came together to make this virtual tour possible," said Commissioner Sarah Steelman, Office of Administration. "It is so important that we celebrate our nation's history and the people who helped shape it. These may be unprecedented times, but it is great that our team finds an innovative way to celebrate Asian/Pacific American history."
Missouri’s monthlong celebration pays tribute to generations of Asian/Pacific Americans (APA) who have enriched the state’s history and are instrumental in its future success. Their contributions in Missouri include economic opportunity through business and entrepreneurship, innovations in science, advancements in technology and medicine, leadership in government and the legal community, academic excellence in education, and industry growth and development.
Visitors to the virtual celebration are encouraged to share the link Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month on social media, using #MO2020APAHM and #AAPIHeritageMonth.