Asia Society Texas Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
HOUSTON, May 31, 2022 — Asia Society Texas celebrated the 30th anniversary of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAH Month) with a robust lineup of live programs, broad community outreach, and volunteer opportunities throughout the month of May.
Designated as APAH Month in 1992, May was selected by Congress in commemoration of the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. in May 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1859 that was made possible by thousands of Chinese laborers. The month has since been a dedicated time to honor Asian Pacific American heritage.
For this year's observances, Asia Society Texas (ASTX) presented its second annual 31 Ways to Celebrate APAH Month calendar. Built around ASTX's live programs, the calendar also featured staff recommendations and a curated selection of on-demand activities, interviews, and performances.
Marking the end of Ramadan, the Center's Festival of Eid welcomed more than 3,500 guests to celebrate the diversity of Houston's Muslim community through stage performances, activities, shopping, and halal food.
Welcoming notable Asian and Asian American authors to the Center for talks and book-signings was a special treat for the month. Huma Abedin, longtime top aide to Hillary Clinton, reflected on her career and faith as shared in her memoir Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, in a special convergence of ASTX's signature Women's Leadership Series and Muslim Series. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, and ASTX welcomed Dr. Jenny T. Wang for the Houston launch of her new book Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans. As part of Houston Public Library's Teen Books Alive series, National Book Award-winning author Malinda Lo shared her journey as one of the few Asian women authors writing YA fantasy. Finally, a sold-out crowd greeted indie rockstar Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast), who spoke with fellow author Bryan Washington about her writing process and her bestselling memoir Crying in H Mart.
Film screenings included ASTX's continuing Kung Fu Film Nights series, featuring The Grandmaster and Once Upon a Time in China, as well as the documentary Not Your Model Minority, presented in partnership with the Asian American Bar Association of Houston and followed by panel discussions with figures from the AAPI and local legal communities.
Students with ID enjoyed free admission to the exhibition Making Home: Artists and Immigration throughout the entire month. In addition to expanded art tour dates for the general public, various K–12 groups and the Houston YMCA chapter participated in docent-led tours.
Help Us Build a More Inclusive World
In the virtual space, attendees from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Geico, and Pattern Energy joined live At Home in Asiatown tours to learn about the history and small businesses of the Bellaire Boulevard Asiatown and participate in an artist-led activity. A virtual workshop in partnership with AARP explored the diverse flowers of Asia.
Additionally, ASTX staff and volunteers provided activities and participated at various community events, including:
- Asian Restaurant Month presented by the Asian Chamber of Commerce
- Houston Public Library's AAPI Festival on May 14
- AAPI Amplified at Avenida Houston on May 14
- APAHA's 30th Anniversary Gala on May 14
- ExxonMobil's ACE Culture Fair on May 18
- Junior League's "Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Inclusion" webcast panel discussion on May 19
- "Longevity" Asiatown Community Mural painting on May 21
- Storytelling outreach at Youngblood Intermediate School on May 24
Finally, in an APAH Month-themed episode of Houston Public Media's "Town Square With Ernie Manouse," longtime ASTX supporter and Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA) Program Manager Dr. Anne Chao and Director of Communications and Audience Engagement Stephanie Todd-Wong discussed the history of Asians and Asian Americans in Houston and took callers' questions.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.