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Students Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Published on May 18, 2020

Students Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Zoom meeting
Members of Eastern's Asian Cultural Society (ACS) commemorated Asia Pacific American Heritage month with an online gathering via WebEx.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as we pay tribute to the generations of Asians and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental to its future.

According to Wikipedia, the celebration originated in 1977 when U.S. Rep. Frank Horton of New York introduced a resolution to proclaim the first 10 days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. It was signed by President Jimmy Carter on Oct. 5, 1978. In 1990, the celebration was expanded to a month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Though learning from home since March, members of Eastern Connecticut State University’s Asian Cultural Society (ACS) gathered together this past Friday through Zoom to celebrate the month, reflecting on their activities, events and achievements throughout the year.

ACS members represent a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Their goal is to unite the Asian community with others to celebrate diversity, encourage leadership, civic engagement and academic success, while educating the  campus community about Asian cultures.

This past academic year, ACS members attended the Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE) Conference in Boston in November to learn about leadership and the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) Conference in February in Pittsburgh, PA. The club celebrated Lunar New Year, Diwali, conducted a Boba Tea and Henna Drawing fundraising, and discussed topics such as Asian American identity, the Model Minority Myth, cultural appropriation, perpetual foreigner perception, and challenges that Asian Americans are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, COVID-19 prevented the club from celebrating “Holi” on the Webb Hall lawn, an annual festival celebrating the beginning of spring.

“The Asian Cultural Society has had a great impact on my college experience,” said ACS President Donna Nguyen. “My four years at Eastern have produced my fondest memories, especially of my times with now many lifelong friends I have made through the club. The club meetings and various events we have hosted and attended me have made me much more appreciative of the contributions of my own culture, along with contributions of other Asian cultures.”

Health Sciences Professor Anita Lee and History Professor Bradley Davis are club co-advisors. They join club members in welcoming all Eastern students who are interested in Asian and Asian American cultural, history and issues. For more information, contact

Written by Dwight Bachman