Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Have you ever used YouTube? A USB? An OLED screen? These are just a few inventions that came into daily use thanks to the work of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people. As we celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the many cultures that fall under this umbrella, let’s take some time to be thankful for the contributions and achievements of AAPI people throughout history.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Native Hawaiians, have faced many challenges throughout America’s past. This is why one of the important goals of AAPI Month is to encourage everyone to consider how the AAPI community has not only helped to shape our nation but also how our nation’s history has impacted AAPI people. Recognizing the difficult parts of that history and addressing systemic problems that AAPI people face today is crucial to building a better future together.

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here are a few AAPI people who made important contributions to U.S. history and culture – and beyond:

  • Ajay Bhatt, Indian American computer architect, invented the USB.
  • Ching Wan Tang, Ph.D., Hong Kong-American physical chemist who helped create the OLED screen.
  • Harvey Akio Itano, M.D., Ph.D., a Japanese American doctor who pioneered sickle cell research.
  • Isabella Abbott was the first native Hawaiian woman to receive a Ph.D. in science.
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, a child of Indian immigrants, has won numerous accolades for her literary work.
  • Kamala Harris is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as Vice President.
  • Patsy Mink, J.D., was a Japanese American attorney and Congresswoman who worked for education reform and fought against segregation and discrimination.
  • Steven Chen, Taiwanese American, co-founded YouTube.

There are many more people beyond this list who have made great contributions to science, the arts, and history, so we encourage you to check out the following resources to learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and the impact of AAPI people. Learning about and celebrating the many ethnicities, languages, cultures, and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is key to understanding how they enrich our culture and country.

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