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County Council recognizes history, heritage of Asian Pacific Americans


May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized the heritage and contribution of all county residents of Asian Pacific Islander descent with the declaration of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in King County.

“Our residents of Asian Pacific American heritage have been a part of the King County community for many generations, contributing to every aspect of our region’s culture, politics, economy, arts and culinary traditions,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci. “Asian Pacific Americans have unfortunately also been targeted for discrimination, violence, and exclusion. As we celebrate this month, let us also remember the inequities of the past and recognize the continued challenges that the APA population faces, such as the green card backlog, access to culturally competent services, and an accurate understanding of the broad range of experiences and outcomes within the diverse APA community. APA Heritage Month gives us the opportunity to listen and learn about the needs of our APA friends and neighbors, as well as to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the APA community.”


 Councilmembers are joined by members of the
Asian Pacific American community after the Council proclaimed the month of May Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in King County

The majority of Asian Pacific Americans living in Washington state reside within King County. People of Asian Pacific Americans account for nearly half of King County’s population growth in the past ten years, and at 17% of the total population, compose the county’s largest minority group.

The Council’s proclamation recognizes the hardships endured by Asian Pacific Americans throughout history, including exclusionary laws surrounding housing, marriage, immigration, and naturalization, as well as the persisting gaps in achievement, opportunity, and accessibility to in-language services.

Despite the historical struggles and the contemporary challenges posed today, individuals of Asian Pacific descent have made significant contributions in every aspect of society, making King County one of the most vibrantly diverse, economically vital, and culturally rich regions in the United States.

The month of May became Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in 1990, in recognition of two events that occurred in May, the first recorded arrival of a Japanese immigrant to the United States in May 1843, and the May 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was constructed with Chinese labor. Since 2000, the state Legislature has recognized May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.






WHEREAS, diversity is essential to the strength and vitality of King County; and

WHEREAS, people of Asian Pacific Island descent have lived in the Pacific Northwest for generations and have helped shape our county’s culture, economy, and identity; and

WHEREAS, Asian Pacific Americans compose the largest community of color in King County, playing a central role in making King County one of the most vibrant and culturally rich regions in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Asian Pacific American community is diverse within itself, comprising over 49 ethnic groups, 100 different languages and dialects, and a wide variety of religions; and

WHEREAS, despite economic hardship, restrictive and exclusionary laws, pervasive racism, and attacks on civil rights, Asian Pacific Americans have contributed to every major industry and profession in this region; and

WHEREAS, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was established in 1990 to commemorate two events that occurred during the month of May: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, by workers who were mostly Chinese immigrants; and

WHEREAS, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide to honor the achievements and contributions of Asian Pacific Americans, and it is an opportunity to educate ourselves on the personal sacrifices and accomplishments made by people of Asian Pacific Islander descent in American history;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim May 2019 as



in King County and encourage all residents to join in this celebration and participate in the many festivities planned to recognize Asian Pacific Islander heritage.

DATED this twenty-second day of May, 2019.

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