May 2021: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

WHEREAS, the month of May was chosen for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, in which the majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants; and,

 

WHEREAS, Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the nation and in Michigan, with approximately 377,181 Asian Americans in Michigan, making up 3.7% of the state's total population; and,

 

WHEREAS, since their migration, members of the AAPI community have shared their resilient family values, strong work ethic, dedication to education, and diversity in faith and creed, which have strengthened our great democracy; and,

 

WHEREAS, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in Michigan are a vital and valued part of the population, making significant contributions to academia, business, medicine, law, technology, government, science, and social justice and making our state a better place to live; and,

 

WHEREAS, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian American community leaders and organizations have facilitated the donation of hundreds of thousands of facemasks to hospitals, health centers, and senior buildings during the months where Personal Protective Equipment were scarce and have assembled and distributed numerous care packages. Many have served on the frontlines as health care providers, first responders, teachers, and other essential workers; and,

 

WHEREAS, May 18th is proclaimed as the AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate, which is the birthday of Vincent Chin who was brutally murdered in a hate crime in 1982 in Highland Park, Michigan. His murder and the resulting civil and criminal cases fueled a national Asian American and Pacific Islander activist movement that continues to this day; and,

 

WHEREAS, despite the strength shown and successes achieved by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we have seen a staggering rise in bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes against the AAPI community during the COVID-19 pandemic; and,
 

WHEREAS, in the AAPI community, these problems are often compounded by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep these individuals from seeking and receiving help, and certain AAPI groups, including immigrant and limited English proficient youth, are more likely to be the targets of bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes; and,

 

WHEREAS, according to a report released by the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign, 1 in 4 AAPI youth face COVID-19 related bullying; and,

 

WHEREAS, during this month, we should recommit ourselves to promoting equity and tolerance for the AAPI community, stand up against discrimination and hatred, and ensure that our state is a welcoming and inclusive place for all; and,

 

WHEREAS, we should also recognize and celebrate the many significant cultural, historical, and economic contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to Michigan and the United States;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 2021 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Michigan.