Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fun facts about Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

May is Asian American Heritage Month and also Pacific Islander Heritage Month, called Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in combination.  It's a nationally recognized month-long celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.  Here are some fun facts about this month and also the important contributions and history of Asian Americans in the U.S.:

-The idea of a heritage month was first introduced as a congressional bill in June of 1977, when Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that proposed the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. 

-President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution on October 5, 1978 making it an annual celebration. 

-It took twelve years for it to be extended into a month-long celebration, enacted by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and signed into law.

-May was chosen for its significance in Asian American culture.  The first Japanese person to arrive in the United States was on May 7, 1843, the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, with the majority of workers Chinese immigrants.  

Who are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders?

-The official term “Asian-American” is widely encompassing, referring to people with origins in China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Burma (Maynmar.)  Additionally, it refers to people of Indian subcontinent.

-The term “Pacific Islander,” refers to people from Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island.  

-Additionally, there’s a significant population of multi racial and mixed descent.  Some of them are brand new to this country, while some have families spanning back multiple generations and over one hundred years in the United States.

The history of Asians in America.

-The first Asians to come to the western hemisphere were Chinese Filipinos who settled in Mexico. Filipino sailors later settled in the U.S. territory of Louisiana around 1750.

-The first large-scale immigration of Asians to America occurred with the gold rush of 1848, many of them settling in Sacramento and the foothills.

-Chinese immigrants were the main workforce to lay tracks for the railroad expansion.  At the peak of production, up to 12,000 Chinese workers did the hardest and most dangerous jobs for the railroads.  

-After completion of the rails in 1869, many of them returned to San Francisco and settled into what is now Chinatown.

-During that period and well into the 1900's, Asian Americans suffered terrible racism and discrimination.

-Large populations of Japanese Americans were held in detainment camps during World War II.  

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in America.

-Of the total United States population, 18.2 million people, or 5.6 percent, reported they were Asian Americans in 2011.  

-Pacific Islanders accounted for an additional 874,414 people, or 0.3 percent or the population.

-Among Asian Americans in the United States, there are five groups with a population over one million: Chinese Americans (2.3 million), Filipino Americans, (1.8 million), Asian Indians (1.6 million), Vietnamese Americans (1.1 million), and Korean Americans (1.07 million).

-Among Pacific Islanders, the largest groups include Native Hawaiians (140,652), Samoan Americans (91,029), Guamanian or Chamorro Americans (58,240), Tongan Americans (27,713), and Fijian Americans (9,796).

-More than 50% of all Asian Americans live in just three states: California (3.7 million), New York (1 million), and Hawaii (503,000).

-More than half of all Pacific Islanders live in two states: Hawaii (113,539) and California (see above).

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California.

-In our great state of California, at least 
4.2 million people, or 12.3 percent of the population, reported they were Asian or an Asian combination.

- 221,458 people, or 0.3 percent of the California population, reported they were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

-The five California cities with the largest Asian American population are: Los Angeles (369,254), San Jose (240,375), San Francisco (239,565), San Diego (166,986), and Fremont (75,165).

-The five California cities with the largest Pacific Islander population are: Los Angeles (5,915), San Diego (5,853), Long Beach (5,605), San Jose (3,584), and Sacramento (3,861).

-Among Asian Americans in the California, the five largest groups are: Chinese Americans (980,642), Filipino Americans (918,678), Vietnamese Americans (447,032), Korean Americans (345,882), and Asian Indians (314,819).

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Sacramento.

-In August 2002, the City of Sacramento was named, “America’s Most Diverse City” by Time Magazine.  A big part of that includes Asian Americans.

-In fact, Sacramento is home to the 11th largest Asian American population in the United States.

-Between 1990 and 2000, Sacramento was one of the fastest growing Asian American and Pacific Islander populations (APIA), with 28 percent and 57 percent growth, respectively.

-As of 2004, it was estimated there were 96,000 APIAs in Sacramento, making up 22 percent of the city’s population.

-The home-ownership rate for Asian Americans in Sacramento is higher than that of all other groups (55.4%). The home-ownership rate for Pacific Islanders (44.1%).

-50% of Asian Americans ages 25 and older have a bachelor's degree or higher education, compared to only 28 percent for all Americans 25 and older.  That’s the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic group in the country.

-At the same time, the poverty rate for Asia Americans (24.9%) and Pacific Islanders (26.7%) in Sacramento is substantially higher than that of the total population.

Notable Asian Americans and contributions.

-Lisa Ling is an award winning journalist and television personality, born in Sacramento.

-Ryan Yamamoto is a sports anchor for Sacramento’s News 10.  

-Suzanne Phan is an esteemed news journalist at the same station.

-Pat Fong Kushida is president of the Metro Chamber of Commerce and founded the stateside Asian Chamber in 2006.

-C.C. Yin is a prominent businessman, philanthropist, and Asian American political advocate. 

-Sacramento notable entrepreneurs Jason Jong and Jeffrey Louie founded and developed Capsity.

-Frank Fat is an iconic restaurateur in the region.

-Late actor Pat Morita, of Karate Kid fame, was a Sacramento resident.

-Jimmie Yee is a politician who currently works on the Sacramento Board of Supervisors. 

-Jeff Adachi, currently the Public Defender in San francisco and writer and director of the documentary, Slanted Screen, is from Sacramento.

Historical achievements (from Wikipedia.)

-U.S. representative: Dalip Singh Saund, 1956, representative from California. The first female Asian American elected to Congress was Patsy Takemoto Mink, elected in 1964 as a representative from Hawaii.

-U.S. senator: Hiram Fong, 1959, one of Hawaii's first two senators.

-U.S. female senator: Mazie Hirono,2013, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Hawaii, making her the first Asian American female senator. Also the country's first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate. In addition, she's the first U.S. senator born in Japan-and the second woman of color to serve in the Senate.

-Federal court judge: Herbert Choy, 1971, appointed to the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit.

-Governor: George R. Ariyoshi, 1974, governor of Hawaii. The first on the mainland was Gary Locke, elected governor of Washington in 1996.

-Mayor of a major U.S. city: Norman Yoshio Mineta, 1971, in San Jose, California.

-Astronaut (in space): Ellison Onizuka, first spaceflight in 1985. Died in the 1986 Challenger disaster.

-Academy Award winner: Haing Ngor, Best Supporting Actor of 1984 for his role in The Killing Fields.

-First network news reporters: Ken Kashiwahara and Connie Chung, 1974. In 1993, Chung became the first Asian American to be a nightly news anchor for a major network (CBS).

The future for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

-The population of AAPI in the United States is expected to grow at a significant rate, 161% between 2008 ad 2050. 

-By the year 2050, an estimated 40.6-million U.S. residents are projected to identify themselves as Asians, making up 9 percent of the total population.

-The contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to business will continue to grow, with 1.5 million businesses owned by Asian Americans in 2007, up 40 percent from 2002.


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