Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society and culture. Asian American and Pacific Islander encompasses individuals of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Pacific Island backgrounds who represent over forty countries and hundreds of languages.  

The Wheaton Community Relations Commission encourages the community to learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and to explore some of the local events offered for the community throughout the month. 

History of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Recognized nationally in 1992, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated in the U.S. during the month of May. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Here are other resources to learn more about the history of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: 

Community Relations Commission Events

Stereotypes that Harm the Asian American Community
Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.
People of Asian descent have seen a rise of overt anti-Asian hate and violence due to Anti-Asian rhetoric around COVID. Nearly 4,000 cases have been reported to Stop-AAPI Hate since March, 2020. Many in the Asian American community have been attacked and assaulted, and killed as a result. Much of the hatred and violence emerges from longstanding stereotypes that have endured and prevailed over time. Learn about some of the factors that harm the Asian American community and what you can do to help your Asian American neighbor. In partnership with the Wheaton Public Library and the Asian American Christian Collaborative. .

Book Discussion: The Spirit that Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
Thursday, June 3, 7 p.m.
"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest. In partnership with DEI200. Facilitated by Dr. Sunny Sue Chang Jonas. Email rbautist12@gmail.com for zoom link info.

Wheaton Public Library Events

Adult Programs

Not Quite: Asian Americans and the "Other" in the Era of the Pandemic
Thursday, May 27, 7 p.m.
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, join Dr. Ada Cheng for her presentation Not Quite: Asian Americans and the "Other" in the Era of the Pandemic and the Uprising. In this performance, Dr. Cheng explores several major themes: the meanings of home(land), racial profiling and the image of the perpetual foreigner, and anti-Asian racism under the pandemic.

Dr. Cheng is a professor-turned-storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. She was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University from 2001-2016 when she resigned to pursue storytelling and performance full time.

This event is presented in collaboration with Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders. .

Youth Programs

Folktales from Asia
Thursday, May 6 at 4 p.m.
Join the WPL on Zoom as they share some folktales from China and Korea. Geared for Preschool through Elementary school.

Storytime: Fantastic Food from Asia
Tuesday, May 11 at 2 p.m.
Join the WPL on Zoom as they read books all about fabulous food from India and China! Be sure to have a snack ahead of time because these delectable titles will make you hungry! Geared for Preschool through Elementary school.

Kamishibai
Thursday, May 27 at 4 p.m,
Let's learn about Kamishibai, a form of Japanese storytelling, over Zoom! We'll read Kamishibai Man and work on our projects. For Grades K-6.

Other Resources

Here are links to the 4 part “Talking About Race” panel series courtesy of DEI200 and Wheaton Public Library.  This series explores a range of topics around Race and features local residents sharing their perspectives and experiences.

Books About Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In addition to the various WPL events, the Wheaton Public Library also has multiple books for residents to view and learn about various events and topics surrounding Asian American and Pacific Islander Month. Visit the Wheaton Public Library's website to view the library's online catalog.