May is AAPI Heritage Month
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President Obama, in his proclamation declaring May as Asian American and Pacific Heritage Month, said, “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders comprise many ethnicities and languages, and their myriad achievements embody the American experience. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have started businesses, including some of our nation’s most successful and dynamic enterprises. AAPI men and women are leaders in every aspect of American life– in government and industry, science and medicine, the arts and our armed forces, education and sports.”

What a nice, meaningful tribute by our President to the nation’s fastest- growing ethnic group in the US.

It is nice to know then that the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been given due recognition by the United States government in the past 22 years.

But as we celebrate the successes of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, we cannot deny the fact that we still face a lot of adversities. We are still fighting against prejudice and discrimination. We have to overcome disparities in employment and healthcare, etc. We want to seek the opportunities others are enjoying.

President Obama reminded us that, “As we reflect on the indelible ways AAPI communities have shaped our national life, let us rededicate ourselves to making our nation a place that welcome the contributions of all people, all colors and all creeds, and ensures the American dream is within reach for all who seek it.”

The celebration of May as Heritage Month started way back in 1990.

So as we celebrate this year our many contributions to the American way of life, we are also reflecting on the challenges we face as Asian Americans.

The celebration of May as Heritage Month started way back in 1990.

Here in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder issued recently a certificate of proclamation on behalf of the people of Michigan in support of the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Heritage Month.

In his proclamation, he stated that “the diversity within the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United states adds much to the cultural fabric of our state and country, as these groups have shared their many languages, countless traditions and practices of faith.”

There are programs and events lined up for the celebration. One of the these is the “10th Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration” in Lansing in the historic capitol building at the Rotunda. This will be held on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 3 p.m.

The event is hosted by the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC), Michigan Department of Civil Rights and State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood.

The honorary host committee members are the state legislators.

The highlight of the program for the celebration will be the keynote speech of successful florist Bing S. Goei.

Governor Snyder is expected to grace the event. He will be introduced by the MAPAAC chairperson Dr. Sook Wilkinson.

Three cultural groups will perform during the program. These are the Chinese Dance Group, Vietnamese Youth Group and Hmong Dancers.

The celebration in Lansing is open to the public.

For more information about the event, interested individuals are urged to email this writer, who is event committee chairperson, at [email protected]

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Willie is a teacher at the Detroit Public School. A very popular and influential leader in the Filipino-American community in Michigan, Dechavez is the incumbent Michigan state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and public relations officer of both the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM). A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he is also vice president of the Bicol Association of Michigan. He is recipient of numerous awards.


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