April 23, 2024

Honoring Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024

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As May approaches, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion looks forward to celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2024.

The annual observance is a time to recognize and honor the contributions, achievements, and cultural heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

AAPI Heritage Month provides an opportunity for reflection, education, and appreciation of the Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions that enrich the American experience.

Beginnings of AAPI Heritage Month

AAPI Heritage has been celebrated nationally in May for many decades. 

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution which designated the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. This period was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843. It also marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad—largely built by Chinese immigrant laborers—on May 10, 1869. 

Over the years, the observance evolved, and May was established as AAPI Heritage Month in 1992.

Now, AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated with a variety of events and activities that highlight the cultures, traditions, and histories of AAPI communities. 

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with us

Join the Heersink School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the AAPI Faculty Association to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in person. 

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Faculty Association and Dr. Daniel Chu, M.D., will host a special AAPI Panel Discussion. The event will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the UAB Alumni Theater in Hill Center. Special guests Evelyn Yang (author and advocate), Jon Lee Brody (actor), and Julie Kim (comedian and author) will join UAB’s Dr. Herb Chen on the panel. Dr. Michele Kong of UAB will moderate the discussion.

Register for the event here. 

On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, from 4-6 p.m., drop by the Wallace Tumor Institute Lobby for an evening of cultural immersion. Enjoy traditional food offerings from Bay Leaf, Hunan, Nori Thai and Sushi, Saigon Noodle, Yummify, and more. Engage in activities such as performances by the Jasmine Dance Ensemble, a presentation by Asian Art Curators from the Birmingham Museum of Art, Japanese calligraphy demonstrations, Ikebana flower arranging tutorials, and origami sessions. Explore exhibits featuring bonsai trees and anime art and hear from AAPI faculty leaders, community leaders, and APSMA students. 

Register for the event here.

More ways to honor AAPI cultural heritage

Can’t make it in person? Check out three additional ways to celebrate AAPI culture this May.

  1. Take a virtual art tour across Asian cultures at the Smithsonian.

  2. Check out the New York Public Library’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage “Reading List for Adults.”

  3. Listen to Asian American History 101 on Apple podcasts.

Supporting AAPI Faculty all year long

Heersink School of Medicine Faculty Associations play a critical role in the support of our faculty. From recruitment and mentoring to development and advocacy, these groups help create, maintain, and foster the culture we strive for at UAB. 

Co-led by Daniel Chu, M.D., and Shuko Harada, M.D., the Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty Association consists of six committees that hold regular meetings to discuss communications and dissemination, social and networking, advocacy and community engagement, leadership training, pipeline programs, and membership. Learn more.