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May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Posted on May 19, 2016

The month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month! Christina Torres, in an article for Education Week’s teacher blog The Intersection, writes:

It is one thing to be "seen" in a classroom. It is another to know that someone else-- student, teacher, or even text-- sees not just you, but the cultural narratives and traditions that you carry deep inside you and made you who you are.  

Reading the literature on this site from China and Japan can be a way to celebrate and recognize the cultural traditions of students of Asian heritage and in doing so, allow them to be “seen” in the classroom.

Poems like “Poems for Parting” and “Poem to the tune ‘Pure Peace’” connect to the deep-seated literary traditions of China; and “Spirit Summoning” and “Compos Mentis,” connect to Japanese legends and cultural practices.

We also recommend a viewing of our interview with Chinese-American author and translator Wenguang Huang, who eloquently describes his sense of mission in bringing Chinese realities to American readers.


Other ways to celebrate the month are:

  • Read through Asia Society’s archive of interviews with Asian Americans.
  • Wing on Wo & Co in New York’s Chinatown has begun a summer series of panels and events about Chinatown culture and community. Keep an eye on events like this in New York and elsewhere and take part!

How are you celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month?

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