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Asian American Heritage Month
May 2024

May is Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander American Heritage Month! 

There are many exciting events and activities planned in celebration of Heritage Month.  Check out the local activities listed below and the resources for in-person and virtual events happening throughout the month!

Featured Evanston Events
Umbrella Arts Festival - May 11
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Placemaking Project - May 29
Sinag: Ray of Light Exhibit
on display through May 25
Lantern Festival - May 28
Things to do outside of Evanston - in-person and virtual...
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Oakton College is hosting Asian Night Market May 10 Learn more about it here
Chicago Cubs Heritage Celebration May 19 
Learn more 
Chicago AAPI Restaurants Week is May 17-26
Learn more about it here
Other Resources for Activities and Events
Check out Evanston Public Library's AAPI Heritage Month Activities here
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Check out Skokie Public Library's May Newsletter with AAPI Heritage Month Activities here
Chicago Asian Network is a great resource for all things AAPI.  Check out their calendar of events here

Explore All Things Asian American in Evanston


  • June 30, 1977: The origin of AAPI Heritage Month dates back to the 95th Congress (1977-1978) when five joint resolutions were introduced proposing that a week in May be designated to commemorate the accomplishments of AAPIs. The House of Representatives introduced three joint resolutions (H.J.Res.540, H.J.Res.661, H.J.Res.753) to designate the first 10 days in May as "Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week" while Senator Daniel Inouye also introduced S.J.Res.72 in the Senate to designate the beginning of May as "Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week."  A 4th joint resolution (H.J.Res.1007) was introduced in the House by Rep. Frank J. Horton and proposed designating 7 days in May beginning on May 4th as Asian/Pacific American Week. This joint resolution was passed by Congress and became Pub.L.95-419. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week."


  • March 28, 1979: President Carter issued Proclamation 4650, the first presidential proclamation, for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian/Pacific Americans have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce. Over the next ten years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.

  • May 7, 1990: President George H.W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

  • May 9, 1990: Congress passed Pub.L.101-283 which amended Pub.L.95-419. Pub.L.101-283 requested the President to issue a proclamation which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month in May 1990. This law called on the people of the United States to observe Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with “appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities.” 

  • May 14, 1991: Pub.L.102-42 was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush. This law requested that the President proclaim May 1991 and May 1992 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months.”  This law also recognized the significance of May 7th and May 10th in the history of Asian/Pacific Americans.  May 7, 1843 is the date on which the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States while on May 10, 1869 the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese pioneers.  

  • October 23, 1992: Congress passed Pub.L.102-450 which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450 Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump have annually issued proclamations designating May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

*AANHPI is the current acronym used by the federal government.  AAPI is still also widely used and recognized.

Click HERE for the origins of U.S. AAPI Heritage Month

Find President Biden's Proclamation on Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2021 HERE!

History of Heritage Month in Evanston

In 2021 Evanston's Mayor Stephen Haggerty signed the proclamation of commitment to Evanston ASPA Heritage Month

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