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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month May 2011. Asian-Pacific American Facts.

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Asian-Pacific American

Heritage Month

May 2011


Asian-Pacific American Facts

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian-Pacific encompasses the entire Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.


Asian-Pacific American


May was chosen in order to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.


Asian-Pacific American Facts

President Obama said in his 2010

Presidential Proclamation-

“Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have persevered and flourished, achieving success in every sector of American life. They stood shoulder to shoulder with their fellow citizens during the civil rights movement; they have served proudly in our Armed Forces; and they have prospered as leaders in business, academia, and public service.”

diversity leadership empowerment and beyond the next few slides focus on diversity

2011 Theme


Leadership, Empowerment, and Beyond

The next few slides focus on Diversity


Trivia Questions

  • What is the significance of the numbers: 3, 13, and 19?
  • What language (after Spanish), was the most widely spoken non-English language according to the Census Bureau?

3 is Significant

The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Questionnaires were available in three languages:

(Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean)


13 is Significant

The 2010 Census Bureau Public Service Announcements were translated into 13 Asian languages:

Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese


19 is Significant

The 2010 Census Bureau Language Assistance Guides (instructions) were created in 19 languages:

Bengali, Burmese, Cebuano, Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Malayalam, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese and also available in Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander languages: Chamorro, Chuukese, Marshallese, Samoan, and Tongan


Asian-Pacific American Facts

2.5 millionThe number of people age 5 and older who spoke Chinese at home in 2009. After Spanish, Chinese was the most widely spoken non-English language.


Asian-Pacific American Facts

15.5 millionThe estimated number of U.S. residents in July 2008 who said they were Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races comprising 5% of the total population.


Asian-Pacific American Facts

48%The proportion of civilian employed single-race Asians age 16 and older who worked in management, professional, and related occupations, such as financial managers, engineers, teachers, and registered nurses.


Asian-Pacific American


AsianAsian-Indian Bangladesh BhutaneseBurmese Cambodian Ceram

Chinese Kampuchea IndochineseFilipino Hmong Ikinawan

Indonesian Japanese Malayan Javanese Korean Laotian

Mien Mongolian Sumatran Nepali Singaporean Sri LankanTaiwanese Thai Tibetan

Vietnamese Urdu


Asian-Pacific American Ethnicities

Pacific Islander

Fijian Guamanian HawaiianMelanesian Tongan NorthernNew Guinean Polynesian Mariana IslanderPaluan Papua Samoan TahitianMicronesian Yapese Solomon Islander

diversity leadership empowerment and beyond the next few slides focus on leadership and empowerment

2011 Theme


Leadership, Empowerment, and Beyond

The next few slides focus on Leadership and Empowerment


Military Facts

Thailand-born Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth is the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for public and intergovernmental affairs.

She was a National Guard soldier, Black Hawk pilot, and an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.

In 2004, her helicopter was shot down during a combat mission in Iraq, resulting in the loss of both legs and was limited to partial use of one arm.

Photo courtesy of


Military Facts

During World War II, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was a unit made up of the sons of Nisei-American born sons of Japanese immigrants.

The 442nd was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the entire history of the U.S. military.

Photo courtesy of the White House


Military Facts

Korean-American Herbert Choy, previously a 1st lieutenant in the Army, became the first Asian-American federal judge in 1971.

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense


Military Facts

Juan T. Salas was the first Chamorro (Asian Pacific Islander from Guam) to graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Class of 1968).  He was also the first Chamorro to reach the rank of commanding officer.

Photo courtesy of the

U.S. Coast Guard


Military Facts

On December 15, 1943, Wilbur Carl Sze was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and the first Chinese-American officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Photo courtesy of the

U.S. Marine Corps

thirty one asian pacific americans have been awarded the medal of honor

Military Facts

Thirty-one Asian-Pacific Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army


Doua Thor: Executive Director

Doua Thor is the executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center .

She and her family were among the thousands of Hmong refugees who were resettled in the United States after fighting alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War.

Thor was appointed by President Obama to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2010.

Photo courtesy of the White House


Tarō Akebono: Sumo Wrestler

Tarō Akebono, the world’s best sumo wrestler, is an American.

Akebono is the only yokozuna in sumo wrestling, the highest classification in Japan's most traditional sport.

"You have to be able to swallow your pride, no matter how much you get kicked down and thrown around," he said in English. "You just swallow your pride and keep working as hard as you can.“


Ellison Onizuka: Astronaut

Ellison Onizuka was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1978.

He worked at the Kennedy Space Center

for STS-l and STS-2. He flew on

the first Space Shuttle DoD mission,

which launched in 1985.

Lieutenant Colonel Onizuka was a mission

specialist on the Challenger when it exploded January 28, 1986, 1 minute 13 seconds after launch.

Photo courtesy of NASA


Dr. Steven Chu:

Scientist & Secretary of Energy

Dr. Steven Chu is a distinguished scientist and cowinner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997).

As United States Secretary of Energy, Chu is implementing President Obama's agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis, and create new jobs.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Energy


Duke Paoa Kahanamoku: Surfer

Born in Honolulu in 1890, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku wasknown as the father of international surfing.

He won gold at the 1920 Olympics, silver at the 1924 Olympics, and bronze at the 1932 Olympics.

Kahanamoku's surfing talents caught the attention of Hollywood, where he appeared in nearly 30 movies. He also served as sheriff of Honolulu for 26 years.



“There's a basic philosophy here that by empowering ... workers you'll make their jobs far more interesting, and they'll be able to work at a higher level….”

Bill Gates, American entrepreneur and founder of Microsoft

diversity leadership empowerment and beyond the remaining slides focus on beyond

2011 Theme


Leadership, Empowerment, and Beyond

The remaining slides focus on Beyond


The Art of Feng Shui

As Asian culture becomes more popular in the U.S., the ancient Chinese method of creating a harmonious environment, feng shui, is also gaining ground. Pronounced "fung shway," it means "wind and water.”

The art of feng shui is nearly 5,000 years old and seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general well-being by examining how energy, qi (pronounced "chee,") flows through a particular room, house, building, or garden.



You may have used these items in your daily lives. Do you know where these inventions came from?

abacus compass fireworks

ink & cards kite paper

porcelain silk wheelbarrow



The facts are modern agriculture, shipping, astronomical observatories, decimal mathematics, paper money, umbrellas, papermaking, printing, gunpowder, the mariner's compass, wheelbarrows, multi-stage rockets, brandy and whiskey, chess, and much more, all came from China.



Two examples of Asian

New Year’s celebrations are:


Japanese New Year's Day

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Chinese New Year




This is a special festival in Japan. On New Year's morning, the family dresses in new clothes. They eat soup, black beans, and seaweed (symbolizing happiness). After the meal, children receive their special New Year's gifts, usually coins sealed in special gift envelopes.

On the second day, the “first writing” or kakizome occurs. Every family member uses a brush and ink to write a poem or proverb on a long piece of paper.



Gung Hay Fat Choy

The Chinese add a year to their age on New Year's Day, regardless of the day on which they were born.

It is a time for new clothes, homes are filled with flowers and fruit, and families remember their ancestors. Money is wrapped in red paper for the children, called lai see, and firecrackers are set off to scare away any evil spirits.

The ceremonial dragon winds its way through the throngs of happy people in the streets.




Prepared byJose A. Principe, MBAon behalf of theDefense Equal OpportunityManagement InstitutePatrick Air Force Base, FloridaAll photographs are public domain and are from various sources as cited.Opinions expressed in this report are those of the author andshould not be construed to represent the official position ofDEOMI, the U.S. Military services, or the Department of Defense.