May Is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: A Time for Celebration and Education

May is known as national Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time when the community celebrates the rich culture and accomplishments of Asians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. 

AAPI Heritage Month is also a time to educate the public on the critical issues facing these communities and to bring critical resources to underserved people who often fall through the cracks because of society’s embrace of the “model minority” stereotype, a myth that became widespread in the 1960s that touts the perceived collective success of Asian Americans.  

In 1977, the U.S. government established a time to recognize Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and their accomplishments. The commemoration started as a week but in the 1990s evolved into a monthlong celebration.

Kent State Today recently spoke with Yuko Kurahashi, Ph.D., professor of theatre and president of Kent State’s Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Alliance (AAAPI FASA) about the importance of AAPI Heritage Month. 

On May 1, 2024, the members of AAAPI FASA  hosted "Supporting and Learning About Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans: A Conversation with Dr. Lynn Itagaki." Itagaki is knowledgeable about the history and the disparities of the API community, Kurahashi said. 

“We tend to focus on the well-to-do and privileged of the group when we talk about AAPI,” Kurahashi said. “However, she enlightened us in terms of the poverty levels and the illness in the community because people hesitate to go to the doctors because of language barriers. We embrace or swallow the model minorities myth and then that is something that works as an obstacle to looking at the realities.” 

Information about the AAPI Resource Group can be found at Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Alliance (AAAPI FASA) 

Here are some of the events, activities and resources available in Northeast Ohio during the rest of AAPI Heritage Month and beyond. 

The Cleveland Museum of Art   

Hudson Library and Historical Society

ASIA: Asian Services in Action

White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Great Lakes Regional Network Community Roundtable 

  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024
    Ariel International Center, 1163 East 40th St., Cleveland, Ohio

You are cordially invited to this first-ever keystone event in Cleveland, designated by the White House. Seating is limited, and it is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, go to

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 01:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024 09:27 AM
April McClellan-Copeland
Provided by Yuko Kurahashi