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Dark brown text says Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month in all caps is at the top of the picture. Under is a short centered line and the words United Our Voices By Speaking Together. The background is a pattern with various oranges, from pale orange to a bright orange. OPM.gov is in the corner in white text.

By Steve Shih, Deputy Associate Director for Senior Executive Services and Performance Management

Each May, the Federal Government recognizes Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month – an opportunity to honor those Americans who can trace their ancestry to a multitude of countries in Asia, Hawaii and the Pacific Island territories, and for us to celebrate those who contribute in so many ways to the success of our Nation.  President Donald J. Trump recently issued a Proclamation recognizing May as AAPI Heritage Month, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), along with other Federal agencies, join President Trump in celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

This special observance originated in June 1977, when Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Mineta of California called upon the President to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.  In October 1978, President Jimmy Carter expanded the observance as an annual celebration, and 12 years later President George H.W. Bush extended the week-long celebration to a month.  The official designation of May as Asian American and Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law in 1992.  The month of May was chosen to observe Asian and Pacific Americans for a number of reasons, including to commemorate the first Japanese who came to the country in May of 1843, and to mark the May 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad which involved the labor of many Chinese immigrants.

The AAPI community is made up of culturally and linguistically-diverse people, representing populations from many countries and islands.  The diversity of AAPIs – and the value of diversity in general to the excellence of our Nation – are reflected in the theme for this year’s celebration, “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.”  The theme speaks not only to the variety of AAPI experiences in the United States but encourages all Americans to join together to share our important individual experiences and to come together to make our Nation great.

Throughout the history of our country, our citizens from the AAPI community have made significant contributions exemplifying American values of hard work and perseverance.  Members of the AAPI community have excelled in so many patriotic and leading ways, including as artists; authors; athletes; teachers; scientists; doctors; engineers; lawyers; government leaders; and brave members of our Armed Forces.

OPM continues our commitment to helping the Federal Government achieve a strong and united workforce – a world-class workforce – to serve the American people.  AAPI Heritage Month reminds us we can best solve the complex and historic challenges of our time by solving them together; when we join our individual strengths, we unify and magnify our nation’s effectiveness. 

For information on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, please visit: http://asianpacificheritage.gov/ and http://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/.

 


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