What It Means to Celebrate Asian American History

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 11, 2016 | Go to article overview

What It Means to Celebrate Asian American History


We are all familiar with the annual celebrations of Latino Heritage Month and Black History Month. Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month might not ring a bell to some, but I believe it is worth celebrating.

As an Asian-American, celebrating this month means that I am able to thrive in the rich culture and history of my people, as well as reflect on the hardships and sacrifices that have been made to be able to have a sense of belonging in America.

For example, the wave of Chinese immigrant gold miners to the West Coast in the mid-1800s suffered brutal riots, physical attacks, and even death because they were so severely unwanted in the country. Without them, there would not have been a Transcontinental Railroad. Other examples of Asian opposition were the Anti-Filipino riots held in the U.S. in the early to mid-1900s and illegal internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Perhaps one of the most eye-opening events in Asian-American history was the homicide of Vincent Chin in 1982, who many viewed as a hate crime. Among other events in history, this tragedy became the inception of the pan-ethic Asian-American movement. Asian-Americans were able to unite as one group of people and see the relations and similarities amongst each other instead of viewing each other as completely separate entities. …

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