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How to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

AAPI Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in North America. The month-long observance is held in May and was first observed in 1992. The goal of AAPI Heritage Month is to educate others about the history, culture, and community of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We celebrate this month to remember our ancestors who came before us who made it possible for us to be where we are today. It is also give tribute to AAPI communities for their achievements and address racism against the AAPI community. Events include film screenings, lectures, performances, artist showcases, conferences, workshops and more.

Since the month of May is coming up, you may be thinking about how to best celebrate. We’ve put together some

1. Exploring AAPI History

If you have AAPI heritage in your family, you can easily take the first step and talk with your family. Ask them about your culture, history, and your heritage. This is the best way to really learn – directly from the people who have undoubtedly have so many stories to share.

You can also research about AAPI history and their culture is the best way to examine historical events of the AAPI community. You could visit a museum or art gallery explore the richness of AAPI history. PBS has also launched a great documentary series about AAPI history. This five-hour documentary named “Asian Americans“, explores the history of identity, the contributions and challenges experienced by Asian Americans.

2. Involve Interactive Reading

Reading books is one of the best ways to celebrate AAPI Heritage month. To get information regarding the historical events and to appreciate their sufferings, read books. You will be aware of the ongoing health crisis, multiple violent attacks, discrimination, anti-Asian racism, and anti-Asian/American hatred. Here are five books to explore the AAPI historical events and fight anti-racism:

  • Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala.
  • The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol.
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo.
  • Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman.
  • Calabash Stories by Jeffrey J.

Furthermore, make a habit of interactive reading with children. Children books such as “My Eyes Kiss In The Corners” engages children and celebrates the Asian experience with them. For more Children book ideas, scroll below to our recommendations #8 Support Asian Businesses!

3. Celebrate by Exploring Asian-Pacific Art

Asian Pacific American culture is a diverse and complex thing to define. It’s not just about food, fashion or music. It’s also about art and history, which are often overlooked in the conversation. This section will explore different aspects of Asian Pacific American culture by looking at some of the best examples of Asian Pacific American artists and their work.

4. Celebrate by Listening to Asian Podcasts

Listening to Asian podcasts is the way to understand people and their stories. Asian podcasts bring you the exciting opportunity to talk with the world’s leading experts on politics, culture, and economics, providing enlightening stories that matter. Especially listening to Asian issues, Asian mental health awareness, and simply Asian culture podcasts deliver enough knowledge.

  • Thrive Spice: This amazing podcast is hosted by Vanessa Tsang Shiliwala and centres the conversation on social equity and strives to normalize mental health in the Asian American community.
  • Asian Hustle Network: This incredible podcast strives to uplift Asian entrepreneurs by sharing inspirational and successful stories and create a community to support them.
  • Asian Enough: In this podcast hosted by Jen Yamato, Johana Bhuiyan, Tracy Brown and Suhauna Hussain, they invite Asian Americans to share their identities and stories.
  • Asian Boss Girl: A podcast that creates the conversation about modern-day Asian American women.
  • South Asian Trailblazers: Hosted by Simi Shah, this podcast dives deep into the professional journeys of South Asian leaders and innovators across industries.
  • Vietnamese Boat People: This podcast shares the many stories of hope, survival and resilience from the Vietnam War
  • The Woke Desi: Arnnika Sharma and Nehal Tenany hosts a wonderful podcast to provide a a voice for South Asian Americans and a space to empower others through life.
  • This Filipino American Life: Hosts Joseph Bernardo, Ryan Carpio, Elaine Dolalas, and Michael Nailat aims to explore the nuanced experiences of Filipino American life.

5. Enjoying Asian-Pacific Food

Asian-Pacific food is a great way to celebrate AAPI culture. This is because the food itself has a lot of cultural significance and it can be a great way to explore different cultures. and traditions. Asian culture is actually made up of so many different cuisines and traditions. We’ve put together some of the most popular Asian dishes on some of the cultures. Now, it’s up to you to try one or all of these delicious Asian-Pacific dishes!

  • Chinese: Kung Pao Chicken, Dumplings, Dim Sum, Peking Roasted Duck
  • Vietnamese: Pho, Cha ca, Rau Muong, Goi Cuon
  • Cambodian: Samlor korkor, Nom banh chok, Amok, Kha sach ko
  • Thai: Massaman Curry, Kao Ka Moo, Pad Woon Sen, Pad Kra Prao
  • Indonesian: Stay, Nasi Goreng, Nasi Rawon, Sop Buntut, Siomay, Nasi Uduk
  • Singaporean: Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chili crab, Laksa, Char kuay teow, Hokkien prawn mee
  • Filipino: Adobo, Bulalo, Sisig, Chicken inasal
  • Japanese: Udon, Sushi, Tofu, Tempura
  • Korean: Hangover stew, Chimaek, Samgyeopsal, Kimchi Stew
  • Indian: Aloo Gobi, Butter chicken, Chana masala, Palak paneer
  • Nepalese: Dal Bhat, Newari Khaja, Yomari, Chatamari, Momo, Pani puri
  • Pakistani: Biryani, Chicken Tikka,  Samosas, Nihari
  • Hawaiian: Poi, Laulau, Kalua pig, Poke, Lomi Salmon, Chicken long rice

6. Enjoy Asian-Pacific Movies

To get familiar with the historical figures, historical events, culture, tradition, and heritage, watching movies is a useful way to fully acquainted. For instance:

  • Nomadland: A woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. This movie is directed by Chloe Zhao and performed by Gemma Chan, Frances McDormand, and Richard Madden.
  • Minari: A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home. This movie is directed by Lee Isaac Chung and performed by Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Youn Yuh-Jung, and Will Patton.
  • Crazy Rich Asians: A story about a native New Yorker that goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family. This movie is directed by Jon. M Chu and performed by Adam Gary, Kristin Hodge, and Briana Evigan.
  • The Farewell: A heartfelt celebration of an American Chinese family who returns to China to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch. This movie is directed by Lulu Wang and performed by Barry Jenkins and Zhao Shu-Zhen.
  • The Joy Luck Club: A 1993 American drama film about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese immigrant mothers.
  • Gandhi: 1982 period biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of nonviolent non-cooperative Indian independence. This movie is directed by Richard Attenborough and performed by Ben Kingsley and Roshan Seth.
  • Mississippi Masala: An ethnic Indian family is expelled from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1972 and lives in Mississippi 17 years later. The dad sues Uganda to get his property back. This movie is directed by Mira Nair and performed by Sarita Chaudhary and Mitch Epstein.
  • Bitter Melon: The story of a Filipino-American family who reunites for a Christmas party at the family home in San Francisco only to find out that Troy, the second oldest child, has been ruling the house with fear.
  • Children of Invention: Two young children living outside Boston are left to fend for themselves when their mother gets embroiled in a pyramid scheme and disappears.
  • Better Luck Tomorrow: A 2002 American crime-drama film directed by Justin Lin. The film is about Asian American overachievers who become bored with their lives and enter a world of petty crime and material excess.

7. Supporting A Cause

Supporting a cause and want to take any action that creates a difference in society? Yes, you can do it!

First of all, find out a cause and give your full potential to fulfil it that create a lasting impact. You can indulge yourself in any non-profit organization, do charities to remove poverty, help needy people, and spread awareness through social media. These fulfillments will enrich your life.

It is also important to donate funds to support a great cause. Your funds will provide the opportunity for unprivileged people to get their identities. They will get the chance to educate themselves, learn something new, explore the world, and many more. With the increase of Asian Hate in recent years, it is important more than ever to spread love, happiness, and kindness, so the world becomes a better place to live.

Below are two organizations you can support:

For other ways, here is a long list Asian community organizations to support.

8. Celebrate by Supporting Asian Businesses

Everybody needs appreciation and support, sometimes through powerful words and sometimes through providing extra facilities. Despite going through endless hardships, Asians owned 10 percent of businesses in the United States. Moreover, thousands of small Asian brands are working all over the world, such as:

Clothing & Lifestyle

  • Mount Lai: Rooted in Traditional Chinese Rituals, this beauty brand is also Female AAPI owned.
  • Avery & Me: Sister duo creating cute clothing brand for the children.
  • Caroline Suzuki: Greeting cards and giftware featuring hand-painted illustrations
  • Cheery Human Studios: Bright and encouraging stationery, stickers and other paper goods by Kristina Yu.
  • Ally Shoes: Making pain-free dress shoes for women to conque the world
  • Petite Studio: A fashion apparel, accessories, and clothing company committed to slow fashion principles and designed to fit petites.
  • Bowl Paper Cut Goods creates cute, modern stationery with an Asian twist.

There are also many Asian businesses committed to Asian businesses to promote the importance of diversity education for children who are our next generation.

Children Books

  • Bitty Bao by Lulu and Lacey, who makes learning Chinese fun for young children
  • Gordon & Lili by Michele Wong McSween brings colourful cultural books for young children
  • Our Little Mando by Maryann Chu: These books are written in Chinese, Pinyin, and English, which gives fun elements to the children.
  • Little Happy Books It is an online book store made for Chinese bilingual parents.
  • Little Kozzi: It is an online Chinese book store.
  • The Spark Collection by Irene Kang: These are bilingual vocabulary books in Mandarin – English, and Hindi.
  • Hot Pot Night by Vincent Chen: It is a lyrical, simple, and repetitive language book.
  • Author Joanna Ho writes two books “Eyes That Kiss in the Corners” and “Eyes That Speaks to the Stars” that offer children a way to celebrate their personal identity and culture in a colourful book.
  • Tangerine and Jade Press just released a book “Lunchtime with Samnang”, a story that celebrates a child’s love of cultural learning, imagination, and exploration. As Samnang enjoys his favorite Cambodian dishes, he hears stories about his grandparents’ native country.

Children Toys

  • My Heartfelt Toys: Adorable handmade dim sim toys
  • Monti By The Sea: Modern, Earth-Friendly, Montessori-Inspired Learning Materials
  • Little Ladoo is a South Asian cultural toy shop for children who is committed to bringing diversity to the playroom.
  • Every Girl Dolls creates a beautiful South Asian doll that is representative of South Asian children. Their goal is to teach young girls to love themselves, their roots and their culture
  • Joeydolls: Adorable, playful and diverse Asian children toy dolls that are made to spread and celebrate all the different cultures within the Asia. We aim to help young children of the Asian diaspora, understand their heritage and culture, as well as celebrate it!

9. Celebrate by Wearing Your Asian Pride

We at Joeydolls will be launching LIMITED EDITION pink t-shirts for AAPI Heritage Month! These t-shirts feature our adorable and iconic Joeydolls illustration together with the text “Proudly Asian” to help you show off your pride! These t-shirts will be available in baby, kids, and women sizes and available to pre-order in the month of May!

10. Connect on Social Media

Social media is a platform where people, companies, and organizations support their businesses and get appreciation. Here are some social media businesses you should follow:

Wrapping Up & Celebrating Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage

In short, Asian American and Pacific Islanders renamed as AAPI community. In May, their struggles against discrimination, contribution, and achievements are celebrated. Regardless of living under oppression, they have given value and importance to their culture. That is how their culture still survives. Please join us in celebrating this fun month of AAPI Heritage month in the month of May.

One of the most impactful ways to celebrate is by supporting Asian-owned businesses that champion the diversity of the AAPI diaspora. Here at Joeydolls, our mission is to celebrate the individual heritages within the Asian community. We believe Asian culture is a beautiful tapestry woven from countless threads, not a monolith. That’s why we created Joeydolls – to celebrate the rich spectrum of Asian cultures and raise awareness of the incredible diversity within the AAPI diaspora.

Our current collection features six adorable dolls representing Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and Indian cultures. But we’re not stopping there! We’re expanding our range to include dolls representing Cambodian, Thai, Hmong, Indonesian, Taiwanese, and more heritages. We also plan to introduce boy dolls soon, offering a wider range for families to find dolls that truly reflect their backgrounds. Additionally, our dolls come in a variety of skin tones, ensuring inclusive representation in the toy industry.

At Joeydolls, we’re deeply committed to providing representation for all Asian families and spreading joy around the world. So, this AAPI Heritage Month, join us in celebrating the beauty and diversity of Asian cultures!

Comments.

  • Happy AAPI month! Thanks for sharing this well written guide for AAPI Heritage Month!

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