Campus Life's Diversity & Inclusion area would like to recognize all the APIDA individuals that have made a difference at UMBC as well as throughout the nation. We would also like to reflect on the resilience of previous generations who survived despite discrimination, prejudice, and persecution.
The month of May was chosen as APIDA Heritage Month to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843 and to mark the contributions of roughly 15,000 to 20,000 Chinese immigrants to the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
Jeanie Jew, a former Capitol Hill staffer noticed a lack of recognition given to Asian Pacific Americans during the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations of 1976. Her frustration about this erasure was both personal and painful - her great-grandfather, M.Y. Lee, had helped build the transcontinental railroad after coming to the U.S. from China in the 1800s. He later became a prominent businessman but was later killed for speaking out for other Chinese immigrants who were encountering difficulties in Oregon.
During the late 19th century, violence and anti-Asian bias was reflected in U.S. federal law, such as through The Chinese Exclusion & Geary Acts, as well as in individualized instances of violence.
Understanding this history is important as we see a rise in xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment. History is the shadow that follows all of us - informing the present even if we don’t see it or don’t believe it is. In order to accurately forecast where we’re going, we must know where we’ve been.
Today, there are approximately 20 million Asian Americans that trace their roots to more than 20 countries, each with their own unique histories, cultures, languages, and norms. While this diverse group is often treated as a monolith, significant differences exist by income, education, religion, etc.
Consider taking the time this month, as well as any time you learn about US history, to delve deeper into understanding how the APIDA community has played a role in shaping this country. Below are highlighted organizations, events, & resources that you can engage with in the spirit of education and celebration of this month.
Local APIDA Community Organizations
For a comprehensive list of community organizations in the metro area, check out AAPIP's Connect Guide!
Virtual Events, Trainings, & Resources