May is Asian American and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, and we are celebrating all the incredible contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to our country’s history and culture. The Asian and Pacific Islander community is very diverse and includes people who are from or have descended from East Asia, the Pacific Islands, and West and Southwest Asia. This includes over three dozen countries such as China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Lebanon, India, and New Zealand!
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was built mostly by Chinese immigrants. Now is a great time to learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander American people and their heritage. Check out some of our suggestions to do so below!
1.Learn about female leaders who are Asian and Pacific Islander Americans
From Girl Scout alums like Senator Tammy Duckworth and Lisa Ling to other inspiring Asian and Pacific Islander leaders like Michelle Kwan and Maya Lin, there are so many incredible women to learn about! Research their stories and share them with your Girl Scout troop!
2. Explore geography
Create a map that shows where the first transcontinental railroad went through and learn about its construction. You can also create a map where you color in all the countries that are part of Asia and the Pacific Islands and discuss how big this area is compared to our own continent of North America, and how far Asian and Pacific Islanders had to travel to relocate to America.
3. Read a book related to Asian and Pacific Islander American culture
Reading Rockets and Lee & Low Books have lists for younger girls, while Book Riot and Teaching For Change have lists for older girls and adults.
4. Dispel stereotypes
Teaching Tolerance outlines ways to start a conversation with your girls about the negative impacts of stereotyping, and how we can challenge and question those assumptions.