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Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The City Council recognized May 2021 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the City of Boston.

Boston is home to the largest number of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents in the state of Massachusetts, including the third-largest Chinatown in the United States, a vibrant Vietnamese American community centered around Fields Corner in Dorchester, and many other residents throughout the City.

The AAPI community is incredibly diverse, comprising over 45 distinct ethnicities and over 100 language dialects, many of which are spoken at home by Boston Public Schools families and City of Boston workers.

AAPIs contributed to the building of this nation, from Chinese immigrants building the transcontinental railroad, to Japanese, Korean, and Filipino immigrants building a thriving economy in areas such as Hawaii and California, to Chinese, Vietnamese and other AAPI residents leading the fights for tenant protections, environmental justice, and language accessibility right here in Boston.

Despite their many achievements and significant contributions, AAPIs have faced strong institutional discrimination and racism, with the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibiting immigration from China; Japanese internment during World War II; and many other instances of structural racism throughout our nation’s history.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a renewed wave of discrimination, with increasing reports of verbal and physical assaults against AAPI neighbors, and the unconscionable blaming of Asian American communities for the devastation caused by this pandemic.

Boston has not been immune to these incidents of racism and hate, and has an obligation to build a community that will actively protect and celebrate intersectional identities and lift up community voices. In honor of the history, heritage and culture of the AAPI community, the Council recognized May 2021 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the City of Boston.

To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Boston Music Project, formerly known as the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program, performed virtually before the start of this week’s Council meeting. The performance featuring students and staff from the Josiah Quincy Elementary School and Josiah Quincy Upper School can be viewed online.

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