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In 1978, congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution recognizing the first week of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Week. This time of the year was chosen because of two historical events that happened in our country’s past. On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America. The second milestone was on May 10, 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed, finished in large part by Chinese laborers.
In 1992 the month of May was permanently designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
In his Proclamation for this special month, President Obama said, “We can reaffirm our legacy as a Nation where all things are possible for all people. So this month, as we recognize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are fulfilling that promise in every corner of our country, let us recommit to giving our children and grandchildren the same opportunity in the years ahead.”
Their story is the American Story, and this month we honor them all.
photo courtesy of DN-0089489, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.