What is the Opening Ceremony?
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Opening Ceremony marks the beginning of a month-long celebration to celebrate and honor the accomplishments that generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made throughout American history. We will highlight the community’s many contributions to the arts, sciences, government, military, commerce, and education in the United States.
On May 6, 2014 we hosted the AAPI Heritage Month Opening Ceremony with U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in DOI’s Yates Auditorium in Washington D.C., where we kicked off the month of May with live performances, special guests and speakers, and remarks from Administration officials.
Watch the Opening Ceremony
Theme: I Am Beyond
This May, the theme for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) is “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures the aspirations of the American spirit and how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America. This year we want to amplify the AAPI voice and highlight the valuable impact the community has made as we go into the 37th year of this celebration of culture. Share your unique story using #IAMBEYOND on social media.
Opening Ceremony Schedule
Doors open 8:00 am | Program begins 9:00 am
Master of Ceremonies: Gautam Raghavan, Advisor, White House Office on Public Engagement
Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on AAPIs
George Yamazawa Jr. | Spoken Word
Swearing-In Ceremony of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs
Daphne Kwok, President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs
Chris Kang, Senior Counsel, White House
Swearing in by Sri Srinivasan, United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Tung Nguyen, President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs
Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget, U.S. Department of the Interior
Maxie Moua | Spoken Word
“I Am Beyond” Panel
DJ Yoon, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
Maulik Pancholy, Actor
Helen Zia, Activist and Journalist
Mary A.Y. Okada, Guam Community College
Moderated by Konrad Ng, Smithsonian
Kama Hopkins | Musical Performance
Congresswoman Judy Chu, U.S. House of Representatives
Vice President Joe Biden
Chris Lu, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
Other APAHM Events
- Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center | http://smithsonianapa.org/iambeyond/
- NCAPA Calendar | http://ncapaonline.org/calendar.html
- NCAPA Calendar PDF | http://ncapaonline.org/index_388_1280648198.pdfv
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month History
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) and a time to nationally recognize the accomplishments of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and highlight their contributions to the development of arts, sciences, government, military, commerce, and education in the United States.
- In June 1977, Representative Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House Resolution to call the first ten days of May, “Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.”
- In October 5, 1978, President Jimmy carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the week as an annual celebration.
- In May 1990, Congress passed a Joint Resolution to extend the week out to an entire Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
- Finally in 1992, an Act was passed to ensure the continuation of APAHM as an annual celebration.
The celebration takes place in May to commemorate important events in Asian American and Pacific Islander history. On May 7, 1843 the first Japanese immigrants came to the United States. Golden Spike Day on May 10, 1869 marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, a valuable project that connected the United States through railroad and took years for laborers to complete. A majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
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