Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Islander History & Heritage Month

Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Virtual Library Display

This year, in May 2022, Native Hawaiians have been added to this celebration. Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month will also have an ongoing theme of Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration in governments through to 2024. The full press lease announcing this month's festivities can be found here. 

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (also known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The Asia/Pacific region encompasses 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).

Celebrated in May, Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as the majority of the workers were Chinese immigrants. In addition, the celebration also highlights the significant contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders to our society and highlights their traditions, cultures, and experiences.

Famous People in Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander History

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

A Hollywood auteur who directs as well as writes major motion pictures, M. Night Shyamalan released one of the top-grossing films of all time, The Sixth Sense, in 1999. The Sixth Sense, directed by Shyamalan when he was 28 years old, grossed more than $700 million. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best director, best screenplay, and best picture. Full bio

 

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim is a professional snowboarder who is one of the sport's fastest rising stars. Kim started snowboarding when she was just four years old and emerged as a top contender by the time she was a teen. Along with being a multiple-time X Games champion, Kim earned a spot on the US Olympic snowboarding team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but she was too young to participate. Full bio

Auli'i Cravalho

Auli'i Cravalho

American teen Auli'i Cravalho had no professional experience when she auditioned for the role of a Disney heroine in a new animated film. The character, Moana, lives on an island in the Pacific and longs to explore. Cravalho got the starring role and began recording the songs for the film in late 2015. Full bio

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh

The chief executive officer of the popular online shoe store Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh was an Internet entrepreneur who was able to develop a good corporate atmosphere for his employees, and who also understood the importance of providing excellent customer service. He had previously co-founded two other companies: LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft for a significant sum; and Venture Frogs, a firm that invested in Internet start-up companies. Full bio

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves is an American actor best known for his roles as Ted in the comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and as Neo in the science fiction action film The Matrix and its two sequels. Though Reeves began acting in the 1980s, it was not until the mid-to late 1990s that he became a popular star. Since then, he has gone on to star in numerous mainstream films. Full bio

Awkwafina

Awkwafina

New York City native Awkwafina began her career with an entertaining series of rap videos that established her as a boundary-crossing performer. Since making her YouTube debut in 2012, the Queens-born Nora Lum effected a seemingly effortless transition into acting, appearing in two major box-office releases in mid-2018, Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. The latter film's director, Jon M. Chu, was a longtime fan of the viral videos Awkwafina made and told the Washington Post that he permitted the novice actor some creative freedom with her character and dialogue. Full bio

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is an American politician. She formerly served as the governor of South Carolina. She then served as the American ambassador to the United Nations (UN). Nikki Haley was born Nimrata N. Randhawa on January 20, 1972, in Bamberg, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Sikhs who emigrated from the Punjab region of India in 1963. As a teen, Haley did accounting work for her family's women's clothing company, Exotica International. Full bio

 

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal is the first Indian American to be a state governor and one of the youngest governors in the nation's history. He was the second Indian American to serve in the U.S. Congress. His accomplishments began early; Jindal was only 33 when he became a congressman. By then he had already run for governor of Louisiana, directed a system of universities in Louisiana, managed a huge department of state government, led a national commission made up mostly of U.S. senators and congresspeople, and worked as an aide to former U.S. president George W. Bush. Full bio

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Energetic and creative fashion guru Vera Wang became known as the designer to the stars in the 1990s with her trademark up-to-date wedding dresses, in addition to sleek evening gowns and elegant figure skating costumes. Using sheer materials and emphasizing minimalist styles, she has amassed a legion of famous fans from framed actresses and ice skaters who have made Wang a household name. Wang's creations are not just for the elite, however; she has a ready-to-wear line of bridal and evening dresses that can be found at stores across the nation. Full bio

Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong became America's first Asian American movie star before films could even talk. She maintained her popularity for more than a quarter of a century and remained one of the highest-salaried stars of her time. Full bio

Minoru Yamasaki

Minoru Yamasaki

The Japanese American architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986) designed several iconic structures in the post-World War II United States and had a significant international career. He remains best known for his design for New York City's World Trade Center. Yamasaki's geometric designs fell squarely within the international modernist style pioneered by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Full bio

Asian Pacific Islander History/Heritage Books

Interior Chinatown
Nā Kua‘āina: Living Hawaiian Culture
The Oxford Handbook of Asian American History
Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawaii
25 Events That Shaped Asian American History: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic
Beyond Hawai'i: Native Labor in the Pacific World
An Examination of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT Populations Across the United States
The Columbia Guide to Asian American History

AMEMSA Films @ MiraCosta Library

Hawaiian Voices: Bridging Past To Present

Hawaiian Voices: Bridging Past To Present

Say Brother, Asian Pacific Heritage

Say Brother, Asian Pacific Heritage

The program celebrates President Carter's bill proclaiming May 4 - May 10 Asian Pacific Heritage Week in honor of the cultural traditions of Asian Americans. Host Barbara Barrow-Murray speaks with Dr. David Sakura (part of Boston's Asian Pacific Heritage Week planning committee and member of the Japanese American Citizen's League) and Tin Yue Wan (a noted Chinese artist). Topics discussed include the meaning of Asian Pacific Heritage Week, the difficulties in getting the bill passed, the work of the Japanese American Citizens League, and Japanese detention camps in the United States during World War II.

I Can't Indian Good

I Can't Indian Good

A first-generation Indian American Brandon Raman has zero ties to India, and woefully cannot understand what makes him “Indian”. To get over feelings of isolation and alienation from his heritage, it takes a visit by a herd of (imaginary) ancestors to help him figure it out.

Separate Lives, Broken Dreams: The Saga of Chinese Immigration

Dances of Life

Dances of Life

The purpose of this film is to enhance our understanding of the cultural identity of the Pacific Islands, their civic life and their artistic achievement. Dances of Life examines dances from five island cultures: Maori, Samoan, Palauan, Chamorro (Guam), and Kanak (New Caledonia).

Asian Americans - Season 1

Asian Americans - Season 1

This series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, and cultural innovation. It is a timely look at the role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation. In an era of U.S. expansion, new immigrants arrive from China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and beyond. Eventually barred by anti-Asian laws, they become America’s first “undocumented immigrants.”

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese is a revelation on a little-known chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film produced in 1916 to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain nine decades later, Hollywood Chinese brings together a fascinating portrait of actors, directors, writers, and iconic images to show how the Chinese have been imagined in movies, and how filmmakers continue to navigate an industry that was often ignorant about race, but at times paradoxically receptive.

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart follows two western-trained Samoan artists who embrace their heritage in their works. The Samoan Heart documents their personal journeys, struggles, and searches for self and the culture that sustains them. Part of the Pacific Diaries Series from Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Skin Stories

Skin Stories

Featuring traditional tattooing ceremonies, interviews, and a collection of tattoo body art, Skin Stories traces the roots of tattoos, highlighting individual stories and the evolution of cultural traditions in the Pacific. Skin Stories is an anthology of stories and stunning images gathered from the hotspots of Pacific tattoos.

Journey of a Paper Son

Journey of a Paper Son

In "Journey of a Paper Son," an elderly Chinese man (Jack Ong), who's dying from cancer, shocks his family when he reveals that he's a "paper son" (one who illegally immigrated to the U.S., using fake documents and claiming he's the son of an American citizen) and asks them for a final wish to change back his name.

Inside the Chinese Closet

Island of Secret Memories

This documentary, directed by Loni Ding, is about Chinese immigrants detained at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco.