Thursday, May 01, 2008

Asian Pacific American Heritage (and History) Month @ AAV

The editors are now updating our annual section, Asian Pacific American Heritage (and History) Month @ AAV, with features, links, news, activities for kids, historical interest, books, and more.

This year, more than ever, the editors have opted to emphasize history over heritage per se. As we've written in years past, at IMDiversity Asian-American Village, EVERY month is "Asian American Heritage Month". We are all for celebrating / recalling / enacting traditional aspects stemming from our roots in Asia. We enjoy obon and lion dances and martial arts and mehendi etc., etc. as much as the next person. And we recognize that for many people -- especially those living in regions who do not have access to a large or vibrant AA/PI community -- taking a time out once a year to indulge, commemorate, celebrate and share those aspects of our heritage that we hold most dear is not only gratifying and important, but perhaps a rare luxury.

But at the same time, we at the Village have made an effort regard May as a chance to explore/recapture our pasts as people of Asian descent here, in America -- ala Black History Month or Women's History Month. Because we have the luxury of being fully expressive of our iterests as Asian Americans year-round, our editors have long felt that redirecting the month's emphasis onto history has led to a more meaningful, substantive commemoration of the contributions of APAs here, in this country, yesterday and today.

This year, we kick off our section with the usual updates -- the new Asian Pacific American Population Census Facts for Heritage Month 2008, the annually adjusted fun feature for stats junkies from Census; this year's Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Proclamation by the President of the United States of America; and new feature articles on historical themes.

This year, our top features to kick off may include "Vincent Who?" by Roland Hwang, President, American Citizens for Justice, recalling the historic importance of the Vincent Chin murder case of 26 years ago and the founding of ACJ.

We also spotlight and feature a clip from Passing Poston: An American Story. Filmmaker Joe Fox discusses the inspiration behind new film about Poston internment camp on an AZ reservation in WWII. The film nudges the usual internment story a little further, placing a fresh emphasis on the exploration of the internment's impact on both Japanese Americans and Native Americans.

History of Asians in the San Gabriel Valley, a new research essay by historian Susie Ling, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at Pasadena City College, provides a historical overview of one of America's "most Asian" regions.

From the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, A History of Chinese American Banking in Los Angeles includes illustrated excerpts from the Society's recent tribute to SoCal banking pioneers.

As always, we'll continue to post new items on themes of history and heritage throughout the month both on the section and here on the blog. We'll also be launching a prominent section of featured employment opportunities we've packaged just for the Asian American Village Jobs for Us Career Center, reloading our recently redesigned Secret Asian Man section with new comic strip series, and more.

Meanwhile, here's one of those greetings you probably won't hear elsewhere any time soon, but...Happy Asian Pacific American Month!