As AANHPI Heritage Month comes to a close, there is a lot to reflect on over this past month. Each year, for the entire month of May, we raise our voices to raise awareness, to amplify, and to celebrate the pride and beauty of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Community. Whether it be through sharing stories, highlighting cultures through social media, or extending a hand and taking a stand to support our community, we have achieved so much over the course of 31 days that we should be proud of.
As we all already know, the AANHPI community has been through so much. Throughout our history, our community has experienced the hardships of racial justice, and yet we continue to stride forward with determination. We continue to use history and pride to combat the challenging times we have faced in the past and even the present, with hopes that change will bring acceptance and equality in our future.
While this road to change may seem long, we have had so much success along the way. Our cultures have made their marks across the United States, including Chinatowns in different cities and Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown creating a designated location for our community to thrive, and history being made in government with the incorporation of AANHPI history being taught in the classrooms. Our influence has also created waves within our society and across media. From the sound booth to center stage, from the red carpet to Michelin-star restaurants, we are not only making an appearance, but we’re making an impact on how our community is represented.
So as we reflect upon the past month, and even years, of celebrating culture and diversity, it raises the question: what happens now? Once we flip the calendar page from May to June, what comes next? Just because our designated month of celebrating our heritage and culture comes to an end, that doesn’t mean we have to stop. Our efforts continue to pave the way, and we must continue with voices raised and heads held high to raise awareness of the AANHPI community and to pass down to future generations. Being proud of our heritage is not something that can be confined to 31 days, it’s something worth celebrating today and every day to come.
~ Emilie Villaverde