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Early Arrival: AAPI Heritage Month in Full Swing

This summary about AAPI Heritage Month 2022 was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

If you’re looking for how and where to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in New York, look no further than Documented’s new roundup of activities happening across the state this May. 

Heritage Month History

April Xu, Documented’s Chinese Community Correspondent, delves into the heritage month’s history, explaining the bumps it encountered along the road to becoming an official event. 

Politicians first tried to introduce the concept back in 1977, but it didn’t advance. They tried again in 1978 to designate a week for AAPI heritage and got the initiative signed into law, but the observance wasn’t expanded into an annual, month-long celebration until 1992. 

The month of May was selected in order to commemorate two AAPI historical milestones: the first arrival of a Japanese immigrant to U.S. shores in May of 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May of 1869. 

“It may now feel like everyone in the AAPI community knows there’s a month celebrating their heritage annually in the U.S., but we cannot take it for granted, because it actually took a really long time for it to become a reality for our community,” says Xu. 

Breaking Down the AAPI Category

Xu points out that the diversity of groups that fall under the category of AAPI has led to debate over whether they should be treated as a single community or whether the government should break them down into more subcategories. Some groups like Indian and Filipino Americans have higher household incomes than the national average, and are more likely to have come to the U.S. via employer-based, high-skilled visas. Others, including Southeast Asian populations such as Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian Americans, are more likely to have arrived via refugee visas, and experience relatively high levels of poverty and low levels of household income. 

“Some groups say it’s better to divide the AAPI community into several smaller groups so that resources can be delivered more effectively to communities in need,” explains Xu. “Others believe that the AAPI community as a whole is still a minority group in the U.S., and so dividing it into smaller groups will hurt the community’s unity and [lead to] all the subgroups fighting for limited resources. It could also undermine the ability for the AAPI community to raise its voice as a whole.” 

“The debate reflects one reality: a lot of members of the AAPI community are underserved, and how to distribute resources to those most in need shouldn’t be a problem that those people [are themselves] most concerned about,” she concludes. 

AAPI Heritage Month Adapting to A New Normal in 2022

Xu notes that there are “definitely differences” in the activities and events planned for AAPI Heritage Month this year compared to the pre-pandemic era. 

“Some local community organizations are adding self-defense trainings, or have events advocating against hate crimes. Some are distributing whistles to seniors, for when they run into dangerous situations, or masks or PPE,” she says. “I encourage people to experience the AAPI community’s culture and support them in any way.”  


New York

Conflicts of interest dog Adams’ ex-lobbyist pick for Community Affairs Unit commissioner: Fred Kreizman represented more than a dozen private-sector clients with ongoing interests that counter those of the community groups he is now supposed to aid. –The City 

Mango vendor targeted by NYPD: “We’re not hurting anyone”: Mayor Adams emphasized the need to criminalize vendors like Maria Falcon after a video of her arrest for selling fruit in the subway went viral over the weekend. –Hell Gate NYC

Suspected Brooklyn subway shooter indicted on two federal counts, including terror charge: Accused of opening fire on a Sunset Park subway last month, Frank James faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for each count if convicted. –CNN

Hispanic Federation raises $3 million: The organization’s first in-person annual fundraiser gala since the pandemic was chaired by actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. –NYN Media 

Video: Chinese food delivery man beaten, shot at during Brooklyn drop-off: Two perpetrators beat and shot at the delivery man in a brutal Crown Heights robbery that yielded them only $5. –New York Daily News

Around the U.S. 

GOP attorneys general band together to block federal immigration policies: Republican-led states have filed at least 27 lawsuits to block immigration actions by the Biden administration, at least 15 of which were brought by multi-state coalitions. –Pew Charitable Trusts

Immigrants 80% more likely to create jobs than native-born Americans: A new study co-authored by an MIT researcher shows that foreign-born Americans start more businesses than native-born citizens. –WBUR-FM, MIT News

Virginia detention center runs at enormous cost: The privately run center in Farmville was built for more than 700 detainees, but now houses just 11 at a cost of $2 million a month. –Charlottesville Tomorrow

Washington D.C.

ICE built vast digital surveillance system with “almost universal” reach, study finds: A two-year investigation by Georgetown University found that ICE has effectively become a domestic surveillance agency. –The Guardian 

Poll finds 1 in 3 adults believe immigrants are being used to replace U.S.-born Americans for electoral gains: About 3 in 10 worry immigration is causing native-born Americans to lose economic, political and cultural influence. –Associated Press

Congress urged to ease immigration for foreign science talent: More than four dozen former national security leaders are calling on Congress to exempt holders of advanced technical degrees from green card caps. –Axios 

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