“Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion”
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Just as we celebrate the rich history and contributions of our Black, Latino, and American Indian brothers and sisters, so too should we recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the vibrant and diverse culture of Asian Americans.
Who are our Asian Pacific Siblings?
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as “Asian” or reported entries such as “Chinese”, “Filipino”, “Indian”, “Vietnamese”, “Korean”, “Japanese”, and “Other Asian” or provided other detailed Asian responses. They comprise 4.8% of the U.S. population alone, while people who are Asian combined with at least one other race make up 5.6%.LGBT
Padmini Prakash is India’s first transgender news anchor. Prakash, 32, is India’s first transgender news anchor(2014). She works at the Tamil language channel based in Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Prakash worked for Lotus News, based in Coimbatore for about a month before she was promoted in August to anchor its 7 p.m. broadcast.
Kim Coco Iwamoto
Kim Coco Iwamoto became the highest-ranked openly transgender official in the U.S. when she won a seat on Hawaii’s Board of Education in 2006. Iwamoto, of Japanese descent, has continuously advocated and worked with LGBT youth as a licensed therapeutic foster parent, lawyer and public figure.
Chinese-American actor BD Wong is well-known for his roles both on the small and big screens (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Jurassic Park, etc.). He received the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s
Madhu Kinnar is India’s fifth transgender mayor. Running as an independent candidate, Madhu won the mayor election of the Raigarh Municipal Corporation, securing 33,168 votes and defeating the nearest rival, BJP’s Mahaveer Guruji, by 4,537 votes .She belongs to Dalit community in India.
Award-winning author-journalist Helen Zia advocates for many causes, including gay rights, women’s rights and Asian-American visibility. Zia, who married her wife, Lia Shigemura, in 2008, wrote in the Amerasia Journal, “With each individual who comes to realize that there are Asian queers and queer Asians, that space where the gay zone meets the Asian zone opens up a little more.”
Sutan Amrull, perhaps better known as Raja, won the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The Indonesian-born drag performer, makeup artist and entertainer was also frequently seen on America’s Next Top Model. In October Amrull participated in the L.A. launch of Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay, sharing his life story with an audience at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
Bindia Rana, she and a handful of others are the first of Pakistan’s transgender “hijra” community – which includes transsexuals, transvestites and others – to register as candidates in 2013. She was elected mayor.
Jenny Shimizu Openly lesbian model-actress Jenny Shimizu has graced the covers of Vogue (Australia and Singapore editions) and has also had roles both on the small and big screens. Shimizu, who is of Japanese descent, was named to A magazine’s “100 Most Influential Asian Americans of the Decade 1989-1999″ and received the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2006 Lesbian Icon Award. The 48-year-old is also well-known for her relationship with Angelina Jolie.
Broadway star Telly Leung got on our mainstream radars when he played Wes, a Dalton Academy Warbler, on Glee. Leung, who’s Chinese-American and a native New Yorker, has had roles in Wicked, Rent and Godspell and currently stars alongside George Takei in Allegiance.
Sridhar Rangayan, born 2 April 1962, is an Indian filmmaker who has made films with special focus on queer subjects. His queer films, The Pink Mirror and Yours Emotionally, have been considered groundbreaking because of their realistic and sympathetic portrayal of the largely closeted Indian gay community. His film The Pink Mirror remains banned in India by the Indian Censor Board because of its homosexual content. Rangayan was born in Mandya, Karnataka. As a gay activist, he has been one of the front-rank leaders in the LGBT movement in India and has contributed immensely towards the growth of awareness about sexual minorities in India.
Pamela Ki Mai Chen
In August 2012, President Obama nominated openly lesbian Chinese-American Pamela Ki Mai Chen to serve on a New York district court. This marks the fifth nomination by the Obama administration of an openly LGBT person to the federal bench. This also makes Chen the second Chinese-American female judge in U.S. history.
Beau Sia is a Chinese American boy, born in the year of the Dragon. He is the author of a Night Without Armor II: The Revenge (MouthAlmighty Books), he has a spoken word album called Attack! Attack! Go! (MouthAlmighty/Mercury Records), is featured in the films Slam and Slam Nation, has had his poetry appear during ESPN’s 2000 Winter X-Games, is a member of two national poetry slam championship teams, and he loves to play guitar.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Spoken Word by Beau Sia
John and Helen Joo
Our Families: LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander Stories
Check out the first video from Our Families, in our series of videos that highlight the trials of triumphs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of color. Our Families is a community education campaign that raises the visibility of LGBT people of color. In this video Asian and Pacific Islander families share with us their personal experiences. To learn more about Our Families, go to http://www.basicrights.org/ourfamilies/.
Ke Kulana He Mahu: Remembering a Sense of Place, this documentary relates a tale of how colonialism profoundly transformed Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaiian) society and the forms of love that are acceptable in “the land of aloha.”
By contrasting the diversity of gender and sexual practices in precolonial times with the stigmatization and marginalization of transgendered and gay people in Hawai’i today, the film asks us to ponder a question posed by Kanaka Maoli activist Ku’umealoha Gomes at the beginning of the film: “Where did the change come from?” The question is a rhetorical one, and the film does not provide any explicit answers; rather, it forces us to draw our own conclusions by making sense of the montage of testimonies, interviews, dance performances, old photographs, artistic renderings, and scenes of ocean and landscapes presented to us. (On order for Diversity and Inclusion film series)
All pictures courtesy of API and BBC
I Am Beyond!
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society and culture.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month originated in 1978 when Congress passed Pub. L. 95-419 (PDF, 63KB). This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. On March 28, 1979, President Carter (photo credit: Associated Press), issued Presidential Proclamation 4650. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce.
Over the next ten years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.
In 1990, Congress passed Pub. L. 101-283 (PDF, 91KB) which amended Pub. L. 95-419. Pub. L. 101-283 requested the President to issue a proclamation which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month in May 1990. This law called on the people of the United States to observe Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with “appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities.” President George H.W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 on May 7, 1990 designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”
The following year, Pub. L. 102-42 (PDF, 125KB) was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush on May 14, 1991. This law requested that the President proclaim May 1991 and May 1992 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months.” This law also recognized the significance of May 7th and May 10th in the history of Asian/Pacific Americans. May 7, 1843 is the date on which the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States while on May 10, 1869 the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese pioneers. In 1992, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-450 (PDF, 204KB) which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”
Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450 Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have annually issued proclamations designating May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Heritage Month” and on May 1, 2009 President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8369 (PDF) which recalls the challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates their great and significant contributions to our society.
Konrad Ng Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
Since 1977, the month of May recognizes the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians to the American story. The legislation honoring the significance of our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage was introduced by some of the finest Asian Americans in U.S. history: Congressman Norman Mineta, Senator Spark Matsunaga, and Senator Daniel Inouye.
This May, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center theme for AAPI Heritage Month is “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures the aspirations of the American spirit, how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America. “I Am Beyond” recognizes Dalip Singh Saund’s election as the first Asian American Congressman in 1957 after campaigning for the rights of all Asian immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the civil rights work of Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz in championing for the rights of American workers across communities. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the achievements of Patsy Mink, the first woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to Congress, a woman whose legacy includes the promotion of equal opportunity in education. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the legacy of Chinese American Grace Lee Boggs, a major figure in the civil rights movement who continues to work on empowering communities in Detroit, MI at nearly 100 years old. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the passionate service of Daniel K. Inouye, decorated World War II veteran and long-time Senator, whom President Barack Obama has called “a true American hero” and “my earliest political inspiration.” “I Am Beyond” is the theme of the new Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center exhibition Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, a look at the history, art and culture of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans in the U.S. beyond stereotypes.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center invites agencies, cities, communities, individuals, organizations, and states across the country to join the commemoration of AAPI Heritage Month. Please join us in recognizing the rich and complex past, present, and future of AAPI communities, our organizations, our leaders and innovators, our artists and musicians, our organizers and activists, our teachers and students, our youth and elders—AAPIs from all walks of life. Create and share your interpretation of the theme through art, music, performance and literature or through an event, video, film or documentary. More details coming soon:www.apa.si.edu. For those on social media, please use the #IAMBEYOND hashtag.
One made a splash riding waves in Hawaii. Another made his mark walking the halls of Congress. Still another made history designing an American landmark.
King of the Waves
To find out more about Duke Kahanamoku, go here.
A True Lifesaver
Read Dr. Feng Shan’s biography, go here.
A Political Pioneer
To find our more about Dalip Singh Saund, go here
A Monumental Architect
To learn more about Maya Lin, go here
A Writing Pro
To learn more about Amy Tan, go here
Emerging Asian-Pacific American LGBTQ Leaders
Strategist, politico and coalition builder Gregory Cendana (Photo Courtesy of APALA) is the first openly gay and youngest-ever Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement. He also serves as the Chair of National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, as Treasurer for the Labor Coalition for Community Action and is the youngest General Board member of the AFL-CIO. Gregory has been named one of Washington DC’s most influential 40-and-under young leaders, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 & the “Future of DC Politics”. Previously, he served as President of the United States Student Association (USSA), where he played an integral role in the passage of the Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act and Healthcare & Education Reconciliation Act. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys singing karaoke, choreographing dances and trying to cook. Be a part of his journey by following him on twitter at @GregoryCendana.
To learn more about Gregory Cendana go here
Tom Hayashi (Photo Courtesy of OCA) currently serves as the Executive Director of OCA National Center in Washington, DC. Founded as “Organization of Chinese Americans” in 1973, OCA today is a premiere pan-Asian membership driven civil rights organization with a national network of over 80 chapters and affiliates. (He is the first openly gay OCA Executive Director of multi-cultural ethnicity.) Before joining OCA, Tom lead an organizational development firm by the name of Capacity Empowerment as its Principal providing services and counsel to over 80 nonprofit, government, and private sectors. He brings over 19 years of combined professional experience as a former health care provider/administrator, fundraising executive, educator, and community activist.
To learn more about Tom Hayashi, go here
Miriam W. Yeung (Photo Courtesy of NAPAWF), Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC and DC, and chapters in 12 cities, NAPAWF’s current priorities include winning rights for immigrant women, advocating for nail salon workers rights and safety, leading community-based participatory research with young API women, conducting national API opinion polling and winning reproductive justice.
To learn more about Miriam W, Yeung, go here
(photo credit: http://www.factmonster.com/)
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.
I Am Asian American
On a Monday morning in September, ESL teacher Susan Azzu found she had a new student. Poh was entering the third grade. He was born in Thailand after his mother and sister escaped war and ethnic persecution in Myanmar. Through a refugee program, Poh had just arrived in Chapel Hill, N.C. He spoke no English. Read more http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-44-summer-2013/feature/i-am-asian-american?elq=7be0bfc520de4a8a8127921433a942a2&elqCampaignId=150
Explore Asian Immigration
Immigration Stories: Yesterday and Today
Discover the plights and accomplishments of one of the largest immigrant groups in the United States.
(Feature) Nobel Prize winners, chemists, researchers
(Feature) Asian American athletes and sports anchors
(Feature) Entrepreneurs, executives, journalists
(Feature) Governors, Senators, Representatives, Cabinet Members
(Feature) Origins of APA Heritage Month A national celebration established in 1977 by Ricco Villanueva …
(Feature) Asian American poets, playwrights, critics, and novelists
(Feature) Asian American musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, designers
(Feature) Asian American actors, directors, screenwriters
(Feature) Alphabetized links to biographies of notable Asian American
A list of Asian and Pacific Island Countries.
In This Issue
1600s Filipinos and Chinese reach Mexico aboard Spanish galleons on trade route between Manila, Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico.
1700s Filipino seamen jump off of Spanish galleon ships and create towns in the Louisiana bayous.
1789 The first recorded Chinese in the Pacific Northwest arrive in Vancouver Island.
1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 restricts U.S. citizenship to “free whites.”
1811 First Hawaiian laborers settle in Pacific Northwest.
1830s Chinese “sugar masters” work in Hawaii. Chinese sailors and peddlers arrive in New York.
1844 China and the U.S. sign first treaty-free immigration between the two nations.
1849 Gold is discovered in California. First wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S.
1852 First group of Chinese contract laborers land in Hawaii. Over 20,000 Chinese arrive in California. Chinese first appear in California court.
1865 Central Pacific Railroad Company recruits Chinese workers for construction of first transcontinental railroad.
1869 First transcontinental railroad is completed. Chinese workers lay an estimated 90% of the track. No official group photos of laborers include them. J.H. Schnell takes Japanese to California and establishes the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony.
|The roots of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month can be traced back to 1976, when Jeanie Jew, president of the Organization of Chinese American Women, contacted government officials in response to the lack of Asian Pacific representation in the U.S. bicentennial celebrations that same year. The observance began in 1979 as Asian Heritage Week, established by congressional proclamation. In May 1990, the holiday was expanded further when President George Bush signed a proclamation making it month-long for that year. On October 23, 1992, Bush signed legislation designating May of every year Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen to commemorate two significant events in history: the immigration of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day). The diversity and common experiences of the many ethnic groups are celebrated during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with numerous community festivals as well as government-sponsored activities.
Organization of Chinese American Women
“It was because of my grandfather’s story and stories that belong to everyone who have Chinese and Asian American parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents that shows that we have indeed contributed a great deal to the building of the United States. But stories about the APA experience should not only be told to just me and [other APAs] but to all Americans, and that we should be part of the history of America because it is important that Americans understand our past, the importance of our presence, and how critical we are to the future of America”
~Jeanie Jew, President
Organization of Chinese American Women
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander organizations. NQAPIA seeks to build the capacity of local LGBT AAPI organizations, invigorate grassroots organizing, develop leadership, and challenge homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bias. NQAPIA is a project of the Tides Center.
Asian Pacific American is a political term that attempts to give expression to cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity while recognizing common historical experiences in American history. Asian Pacific Americans include many ethnic groups with diverse backgrounds, histories, languages and cultures. The significance of this month can only be understood by recognizing the progression and convergence of the many diverse groups that make up the Asian Pacific American community, which includes Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Asian Indian Americans, Filipino Americans, Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Laotian Americans, Hawaiian Americans, Samoan Americans and Thai Americans, to name a few. The month of May is set aside to celebrate the collective accomplishments of these communities.
For Teachers and Students
Author, Seminary Professor, Theologian, Attorney, and Ordained Minister
He is the author of Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology (2011), an accessible introduction to queer theology, From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ (2012), which rethinks the doctrines of sin and grace for LGBT people and our allies today and a new book, Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit. It will be released in April 2013, and it will be the first book-length treatment of theologies by LGBT people of color.
Rainbow Theology Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit The first book to explore the theologies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of color. Video Introduction
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Author, Theologian, Journalist, Professor and Ordained Minister
Rev. Boon Lin Ngeo is Chinese-Malaysian born. He is better known as O.Young (Rev. Ouyang Wen Feng) in Chinese speaking communities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and his home country, Malaysia. He is an ordained Christian minister at MCC New York. Rev. Boon was an award-winning journalist in Malaysia before he came to the United States. In 2006 he was the first public figure to come out publicly in his country. He is also a co-founder of MCC in Malaysia and he holds two Master’s degrees in sociology and theology. He lives in New York city and teaches sociology at St. Peter’s College in New Jersey and Gender studies at Hunter College. In Fall 2009, he was invited to teach LGBTQ Studies and Sociology, the first course of its kind offered at the Jesuit college. He is a best selling author and has published 24 books in sociology, theology and sexuality. He is a columnist for the Sinchew Daily, the leading Chinese newspaper in Malaysia. He is currently finishing his doctoral degrees in sociology and theology.
Motivational Speaker, Church Size Theorist, Liturgist, Lecturer and Ordained Minister
Rev. Stedney Phillips serves on the denominational staff of Metropolitan Community Churches as a Church Life Specialist for the Office of Church Life and Health. In this role she offers her expertise in Church Size Theory and Assessments, Interim Ministry and Blended Worship Development. She also serves as Chair of MCC’s Asian Pacific Initiative Team. Stedney was ordained by MCC in December 2009 following her graduation from Pacific School of Religion. Prior to her ordination, she served as an Intentional Interim Pastoral Leader for 2 ½ years and has served MCC in various areas of local, regional and denominational work. She has served in various roles within MCC for over 25 years. Rev. Stedney resides in Long Beach, CA and has a daughter, Hannah.
Rev. George Balgan
Chaplain, Justice Activist, Motivational Speaker, Community Activist and Ordained Minister
Rev. George completed was ordained into ministry in 2006 and has been on staff at MCC Las Vegas. He started and leads the outreach to the Latino community and leads a bilingual service which has grown from 6 to 100 congregants. Together with other community leaders in the Latino community, he started the group Conciencia, which promotes HIV awareness and testing especially in the Latino community, and holds the annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Las Vegas. He has now started an outreach to the Filipino community. Rev. George is also the main pastor in charge of congregational care in MCC Las Vegas..