NOW Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, honoring the histories of people from across the Asian continent and the islands of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.  According to the 2020 Census, fully 24 million people in the U.S. are of AAPI descent, and according to Pew Research, Asia Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S.

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC)—a group that promotes the interests of AAPI workers in the federal and D.C. governments, has for the past several years selected a theme for AAPI Heritage Month that highlights “advancing leaders.”  In 2023, the theme was “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration,” and this year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation.”

The focus, FAPAC says, “pays homage to the visionaries and trailblazers who have shaped our AANHPI history and continue to influence our collective future. Innovation, resilience, and a pioneering spirit are cornerstones of American leadership. AANHPI leaders have made lasting contributions to our Nation’s economic prosperity, technological advancements, and social/political change through their ingenuity and creativity while navigating significant cultural and systemic barriers.”

AAPI Heritage Month is observed in May because of two key historical dates—May 7 and May 10.  On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States, and May 10, 1869, was known as “Golden Spike Day,” commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S., which was built in large part by Chinese laborers.  Few records were kept about the Chinese workers, but estimates from the time suggest more than 1,000 died during the construction of the railroad.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities together are the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the U.S., and they make rich contributions to our society, economy, and culture.  However, there are too many barriers to success, which are the result of systemic forms of discrimination and exclusion.

NOW members can support this community by supporting initiatives like the Biden-Harris Administration’s “National Strategy to Advance Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities.”

This comprehensive effort involves 32 federal agencies, including all 15 executive departments in the Cabinet, with specific actions to advance equity, justice and opportunity.  President Biden issued an Executive Order in 2021 establishing a President’s Advisory Commission to advise on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together, and NOW members can be an essential part of this process.

President Biden’s Proclamation established May 2024 as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

President Biden says,

“Our Nation was founded on the idea that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.  We have never fully realized this promise, but we have never fully walked away from it either.”

NOW members know how true this is and how important it is to stand with everyone who’s being denied the equality and opportunity they deserve. We’re proud to stand with the AA and NHPI communities today and every day.

Contact: Press Team,,