Oakland, CA — We’re more than a week into AAPI Heritage Month and there are many ways to celebrate this year’s theme: Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.
Check out seven ways to commemorate the heritage of the AAPI community, and remember awareness isn’t just in May, it’s 365 days.
Support local AAPI-owned businesses
Many small businesses are still recovering from the effects of COVID-19, and one way you can support AAPI communities is by investing your money in their businesses. That means making a conscious effort this month to change your spending habits by shopping at AAPI stores and eating at their establishments. You can find many places simply through a Google search, using Yelp or by asking for recommendations from friends.
Attend an event
There are going to be a plethora of events centered around AAPI heritage, and going to an event can help to increase your knowledge of the culture. You get to have a dialogue about what’s going on in the community. You can check out events happening in your area through Eventbrite or on social media.
Educate yourself on AAPI history
Many people are often unaware of AAPI history in America. Since they immigrated to the United States, Asians have faced xenophobia, racism, bias and violence. Although people might be eager to help AAPI communities, it’s important to learn the history first to be in a better position to help. People can do that by reading books, articles and watching movies to understand AAPI culture. A recommended book is “The Making of Asian America” by Michelle Lee, and the documentary “Standing Above the Clouds” by Jalena Keane-Lee. You can also check out these educational videos that break down negative stereotypes about Asian community.
Visit an Asian art museum
One of the best ways to learn about Asian culture is by visiting a museum. There, you get to immerse yourself in the past through the sculptures, art, pottery and traditional rituals. Americans tend to have a monolithic view of AAPI people, often confusing cultures with one another. Asian art museums are great because they help you to differentiate between cultures by displaying art and the history of specific regions in Asia. Understanding the differences between geographical regions of Asia will make you a better advocate for the community.
Watch the documentary on Kumu Hina
One of the most powerful films about modern-day Hawai'i's struggle to preserve its Pacific Islander culture and values is KUMU HINA. Transgender Native Hawaiian Kumu, or teacher, cultural practitioner and community leader, tells her side of the story with pride and self-assurance as a mh (transgender woman).
Volunteer or donate to AAPI organizations
There are organizations that work to promote AAPI rights, education and community development. They can always use the help, and if you have money to spare, consider also donating to them. This curated list by New York Magazine has several organizations and causes that you can donate to.
Beyond AAPI Month
While it’s great to participate in these activities during May, we encourage you to continue to support and invest in AAPI communities all year. It is by continuously working to support and educate ourselves that we can stop anti-Asian violence and racism.