Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month

History and Ways to Support

5/8/2024 | Marina Montez-Ellis, Garden Program Specialist

In May we celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage month. We look to celebrate and honor the culture, history, contributions and achievements from the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. APIDA Heritage month includes countries in Asia, such as China, Japan, Korea, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Maldives. 15 independent nations in the Pacific Islands include Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Fiji, Aotearoa and Micronesia. American Samoa and Hawaii are also celebrated during the month of May.

In 2021 Illinois became the first state to require public schools to teach Asian American history. The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act, was signed into law in July 2021. The act amends the state's school code to ensure that students learn about the contributions of Asian Americans to the United States' social, cultural, and political development.

In Hawaii, the State Constitution reads: “The State shall provide for a Hawaiian education program consisting of language, culture and history in the public schools.”

Since the 1980s the Hawaii Department of Education has consisted of a Hawaiian Studies Program and a Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) for children K-12.

These educational programs work to include Asian and Pacific Islanders as part of the culture and history in the United States.