May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During this month we recognize the contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans to our history. May was chosen for two reasons. It is the same month that the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the U.S. in 1843, and it is the month Chinese workers completed the transcontinental railroad on May 7, 1869.
In recent years, with the onset of a worldwide pandemic that began in China, we’ve unfortunately seen an increase in violence and racism against Asian Americans. But knowledge can build understanding, which leads to acceptance. So, we hope you use this month in class to incorporate discussions and lessons about Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures, beliefs, and histories in our country.
As a start, we would like to offer a few free lessons about influential Asian Americans from American Lives, published by New Readers Press.
Amy Tan, writer
Reading Level: High Beginning
Bruce Lee, actor
Reading Level: Low Intermediate
Maya Lin, architect
Reading Level: High Intermediate
The federal government has curated a great website filled with resources from 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: https://asianpacificheritage.gov/