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In honor of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage month, this is a good time to reflect on how to truly embrace diversity, self-educate to understand the different immigration histories, and celebrate the AANHPI local community. Here are some recommendations to acknowledge the beautiful cultures that have enriched the United State’s past, present, and future.
A National Celebration
The month of May is when AANHPI Heritage Month is nationally observed. The origin of this celebration dates back to the late 1970s when President Carter gave the first presidential proclamation in 1979. It recognized the sacrifices immigrants made for this nation, starting as early as 1843 with the first Japanese immigration. However, support of the AANHPI community (really, any diverse community) should be a year-long endeavor.
The Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and the National Park Service all have several online resources teachings about the history of AANHPI generations. Live online events will also be held throughout the month to celebrate the continuing work and advocacy of AANHPI leaders in our nation.
A Local Celebration
Exploring the culture, creativity, and cuisine of AANHPI can be found throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
The Morton Meyerson Symphony Center was designed by Ieoh Ming Pe, a Chinese American architect. The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection is the only museum in the United States dedicated to samurai art and armor, and one of the largest in the world.
The Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is also available to explore. With more than seven acres of Japanese native botany, this Kyoto-style garden was completed in 1973 by landscape architect, Kingsley Wu. The entrance gates were designed by Albert S. Komatsu and Associate of Fort Worth.
A Home Celebration
Within the home is a great place to teach children about diversity and inclusion. Through books, movies, and food, celebrations of these vibrant cultures can be shared.
Check out this one of a kind, widely comprehensive list of AANHPI-owned restaurants within North Texas. Covering a vast array of cuisines including Hawaiian, Filipino and more, there are more than 700 listings. No matter the craving, something for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in-between, these local chefs and restaurateurs have something delicious.
Books are a great way to teach and learn about culture. Many local libraries will have books available for checkout. The books could also have a more permanent spot within the home’s bookcase. Here are a few recommendations for books written by AANHPI authors:
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho :: Celebrating diversity, this widely acclaimed children’s book is a New York Times bestseller and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2021. Our eyes are shaped by our family and can see the beauty within us.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng :: This New York Times bestseller has countless raving reviews and an adaptation for film. It’s captured the heart and minds of readers. From adoption, race, identity, and motherhood, you’ll continue to turn the page until you’ve turned the back cover.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan :: Through the beautiful words and storytelling of Amy Tan, this book helps to bridge generational gaps through the story of four mothers and their daughters.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi :: This is a story of a young girl who finds the courage to embrace her Korean name rather than change it. She helps her other classmates learn how to pronounce her name correctly and finds being true to yourself is best.
While streaming services have started showcasing movies, films and shows during celebration months, here are a few suggestions of family friendly movies to watch highlighting the AANHPI community:
- Big Hero 6 (2014)
- Finding ‘Ohana (2021)
- From Up on Poppy Hill (2013)
- Koshien: Japan’s Field of Dreams (2021)
- Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
- Moana (2016)
- Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)
- The Speed Cubers (2020)
- Turning Red (2022)
- Writing with Fire (2021)
Continue the Celebration
While celebrating during a specific month is wonderful, continuing the support of the AANHPI community (and other diverse cultures) throughout the year is best. Whether through national organization, local businesses, or within the home, there are opportunities to grow in cultural awareness.