L.A. School and Community Leaders Celebrate 38th Anniversary of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

LOS ANGELES (May 9, 2016) – The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education today voted unanimously to declare May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in L.A. schools. Congressional approval, along with President Jimmy Carter’s signature authorized the first national proclamation celebrated on May 4, 1979.

Principal Wing Fung, leader at Castelar Street Elementary in the Chinatown neighborhood in Los Angeles with a Mandarin language immersion program, said, “For me, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month gives me the opportunity to reflect upon this community's many contributions and to celebrate the past.”

The resolution calls on the district administration’s to “work with all schools of the District to recognize and celebrate Asian Pacific Islander heritage through culturally relevant activities and through in depth discussions of historically relevant topics.”

“During Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we honor and salute the unsung civil rights heroes whose stories built our community and advanced our future,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “Individuals like Lily Chin, who advocated for a federal hate crimes prosecution after her son Vincent, was killed in a racially-motivated crime in 1982 near Detroit. Or, the family of Joseph Ileto, who continue to speak out against hate in all forms after Joseph, a Filipino American postal carrier was shot and killed by a white supremacist in Los Angeles in 1999. In the book, Untold Civil Rights Stories, we pay tribute to these unsung heroes of civil rights and social justice.”

In Los Angeles, district officials provide schools as opportunities for learning and celebration. For example, schools have been named after leaders of Asian and Pacific Islander-descent, like businessman Charles H. Kim, combat veteran and civic leader Col. Young Oak Kim, and Olympic gold medalist and physician Dr. Sammy Lee.

“America becomes stronger when we build cultural bridges and embrace diversity,” said School Board Member Mónica García. “Our goal toward 100 percent graduation, includes multilingual and multicultural global graduates.”

Added Board Member Mónica Ratliff: “I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution by Board Member García, celebrating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I encourage teachers and students to take time this month and throughout the year to learn more about the diverse histories, cultures, and extensive contributions of Asian Pacific Americans.” 
                                                                                                                                           

                                                                  ###

Contact: Isidro Armenta (213) 400-5075