The White House marked the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month Friday with a presidential proclamation and a publicity push for a summit later this month.

The White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, to be held in D.C. on May 12, is being touted as an  “unprecedented and historic all-day event” pulling together federal officials and community leaders to celebrate recent achievements and lay out priorities for the next two years.

The event is open to the public, but registration is full. It will be streamed live here. A preview video can be seen here.

AAPI Heritage month dates back to 1977 when — in part through the efforts of Hawaii senators Daniel Inouye and Masayuki Matsunaga — Congress passed a bill making the first 10 days of May Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The celebration was extended across the entire month of May starting in the early-1990s.

“Through times of hardship and in the face of enduring prejudice, these women and men have persisted and forged ahead to help strengthen our Union,” President Obama’s 2015 proclamation notes, adding that “Native Hawaiians have fought to protect their treasured traditions, language, and lands.”


Kiran Ahuja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Konrad Ng, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, are featured in a video previewing the event.

Courtesy of the White House


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