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Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May is a busy commemorative month! Law Day was May 1st, while the entire month is dedicated to Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month.

Classroom of Asian American children saluting the American flag while reciting the Oath of Allegiance. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection, 2006676334

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions made by generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American history, society and culture. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month originated in 1978 when Congress passed Pub. L. 95-419. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, Congress passed Pub. L. 101-283 which amended Pub. L. 95-419 to expand the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month for May 1990. In 1992, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-450 which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450 Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have annually issued proclamations designating May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” President Obama issued this year’s proclamation on April 29, 2011, as well as announcing the reestablishment of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The Law Library of Congress has a great amount of resources relating to the laws of the Asia-Pacific region, including foreign law specialists who are experts in these laws.  Our collection also includes publications like the Asian American Law Journal, which contains articles about the legal status and laws that relate to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.  A search of the Library of Congress online catalog for “Asian Americans” and “Pacific Islander Americans” reveals a vast array of materials on many different subject areas.

Most legal documents related to this commemorative observation can be found on the Law Library of Congress page. If you wish to contact the Law Library, please call 202-707-5079.

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