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  • Cherie Fontaine

AAPI Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich cultures, traditions, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. This year's celebration is particularly significant in light of the recent rise in anti-Asian violence and hate crimes throughout the Bay Area, making it more important than ever to recognize and honor the AAPI community.


The roots of this month-long celebration can be traced back to "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week," first designated by Congress in 1978. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month-long celebration, and May was officially designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Since then, this month has been an opportunity to celebrate the unique cultural heritage and accomplishments of AAPI communities, as well as to reflect on the ongoing struggles and challenges faced by these communities in the United States.


In November of 2022, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that San Francisco designated a new cultural district in the SOMA neighborhood, making it the city's 10th such district. The SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District will celebrate and preserve Filipino cultural heritage in the area, which has been home to a significant Filipino population for over a century.


In addition to the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District, in the Excelsior neighborhood lives the Pacific Islander Resource Hut, a collaborative of BACR, and other BACR partners. The hut serves as a hub for the city's Pacific Islander community, providing cultural resources, language classes, and social services. The resource hut also hosts community events and celebrations throughout the year, highlighting the unique cultural heritage of Pacific Islanders in the city. Visit them on Facebook www.facebook.com/PIRHSF or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pacificislanderresourcehut/


Another great BACR program, is ApiChat. ApiChat, ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER COALITION FOR HEALTH AGAINST TOBACCO, youth leaders fight against targeted tobacco marketing, promote smoke-free housing, advocate for tobacco retail licenses, and address smoke-free outdoor air. They work with high school and college students, parents, and community leaders to develop policies that protect communities from the harmful effects of the tobacco industry and safeguard the health of future generations. Learn more of ApiChat by visiting www.apichat.org


Ways for you to celebrate

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are several events and activities that people can participate in to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month. We recommend visiting www.apasf.org for a compiled list of activities and events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And, THIS WEEKEND, BACR's own (future) videographer , Simon Santos, is performing in a musical, “The Song of Nightingale”. The musical is written by Min Kahng (a playwright local to the Bay Area) and it features an all-AAPI cast. The City of Pleasanton collaborated with Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre on this musical for AAPI month. It's showing at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton! Check out his promotional video in the link below and buy your tickets now!!

YouTube Link

Tickets Link

In addition to these events, there are several other ways to celebrate and honor AAPI heritage this month.

Here are just a few ideas:

Learn about AAPI history and culture by reading books, watching documentaries, or listening to podcasts. Visit The San Francisco Public Library for more information

Support AAPI-owned businesses in your community. This can include restaurants, grocery stores, and other small businesses.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, it is important to recognize and honor the rich cultural heritage of the AAPI community. By doing so, we can promote greater understanding, compassion, and unity in our society.



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