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Governor Kemp declares May 2023 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Georgia

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, April 28, 2023: Through efforts initiated by the Asian/Pacific American Council of Georgia (APAC), Governor Brian Kemp issued a Proclamation declaring May 2023 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Georgia. The presentation of the proclamation was held at North stairs of Georgia Capitol on March 15, 2023.

“It is a matter of great pleasure for the Asian Community that the Georgia Governor continues to provide his support for recognizing May as Asian Heritage Month,” Sudhir Aggarwal, President, APAC of Georgia said.

APAC of GA is the consortium of 15 countries coming together to help promote Asian culture in Georgia.

The proclamation summarizes the contribution of Asian Pacific Americans to the state of Georgia and the celebration of culture and traditions in the state in its observance.

The proclamation reads, “Throughout our history, Asian Pacific Americans have made significant contributions to the collective Heritage and quality of life in the state of Georgia; and The peach state is fortunate to be home to over 444,677 citizens with Asian Pacific American heritage according to the US Census this community is one of the most diverse and fast growing groups in the United States; and Asian-Pacific Americans are those who Trace their National Origins back to one of more than 50 countries in the Asian continent and Pacific Islands including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam; and Asian-Pacific Americans have contributed to all facets of life in Georgia including Arts, Culture, Heritage, Historic Preservation, Government, Business, Education and Philanthropies; and During the observance of Asian Pacific American heritage month we celebrate the culture and traditions native languages and unique experiences represented by Asian Pacific Americans across our country and right here in Georgia.”

The 2023 theme for AAPI Heritage Month has been dubbed “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” by the Federal Asian Pacific American Council.   Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity”. This year’s theme is a continuation of the “Advancing Leaders” theme series which began in 2021. “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” further highlights FAPAC’s efforts in advancing leaders in the Federal and DC government. 

History of APAC Month:
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (as of 2009, officially changed from Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is observed in the United States during the month of May and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

The month was the brainchild of Jeanie Jew, a former Capitol Hill staffer, who shared the idea with Rep. Frank Horton, who introduced the legislation that formed it. Jew’s great grandfather, M.Y. Lee, left China for the United States in the 1800s before he helped build the transcontinental railroad, according to Time. Lee became a prominent businessman in California and later traveled to Oregon. He was killed during a period of unrest and anti-Asian sentiment.”Mrs. Jew turned a personal tragedy in her family history into a positive force,” Horton later told Congress in 1992.

The legislation to annually designate May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month referenced two key dates: May 7 and May 10. May 7, 1843, marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States. And May 10, 1869, or Golden Spike Day, recognizes the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S., which had significant contributions from Chinese workers.

A former congressional staffer in the 1970s, Jew first approached Representative Frank Hortonwith the idea of designating a month to recognize Asian Pacific Americans, following the bicentennial celebrations. In June 1977, Representatives Horton, and Norman Y. Mineta, introduced a United States House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga. President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for the celebration on October 5, 1978, designating a week to celebrate the AAPI community. President George H. W. Bush signed a bill in 1990 that extended the week into the full month and President Barack Obama changed the name to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009.

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