Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders should be celebrated and treated with dignity and respect every month and every day, we have painful experiences throughout history and this past year that remind us that racism and anti-Asian and Pacific Islander biases are still an issue.

In the United States, these biases have more recently come front and center again as blame for COVID-19 has been placed wrongfully on those who are Asian and an increase in hateful and violent attacks has taken place with “more than 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes . . . committed in 16 of the country’s most populous cities since 2020, an increase of almost 150% over the previous year,” according to the United Methodist Church website. We note, too, the wide discrepancy in access to vaccinations and how this inequity has led to a huge loss of life in India.

The United Methodist Church asks that all United Methodists read again and live out our own Charter for Racial Justice which states that all persons are of equal value in the sight of God and that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Charter also states that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings, and new relationships and must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures, and practices of both church and state.

As we grieve these acts of hatred and violence in the U.S. and throughout the world, we also celebrate and give thanks for the ways that Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have impacted the world. AAPI heritage and culture have shaped the world we know for thousands of years in important and significant ways. We appreciate and honor the many cultures, languages, religions, identities, and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

This month, let us take some time to explore and learn more about the history, arts, and culture of Asian American and Pacific Islanders and take tangible steps to be in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander siblings across the globe.

Here are a few resources to help us on this journey:
Asian/Pacific Librarians Association offers 2021 Covid-19 Anti-Racist Resources
New Federation of Asian American United Methodists
Statement by the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists Against Anti-Asian Violence, March 2021.
#Books for Hope UNICEF fundraiser for India
India COVID Crisis: A Compilation of Mutual Aid Resources
Visit this website tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched history. The website was created by 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.

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