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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Celebration began May 1

A dancer performs at the Year of the Rabbit stamp dedication ceremony in January.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time set aside to learn about the cultures and accomplishments of people of Asian, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian descent.

The observance officially began in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed into law a Congressional resolution requesting a weeklong celebration in the beginning of May. In 1990, the week was extended to a month by Congressional decree.

Several recent USPS postage stamps honor Asian Americans and their accomplishments.

The Chien-Shiung Wu stamp celebrates the nuclear physicist who worked on uranium enrichment and radiation detectors for the Manhattan Project, the scientific collaboration that produced the atomic bomb, which brought an end to World War II.

The Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII stamp, pays tribute to the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team composed primarily of second-generation Japanese Americans.

And the lunar new year stamps have proven so popular that USPS is on its third series. The first two series ran from 1992-2004 and from 2008-2019. The current lunar New Year stamp, Year of the Rabbit, was released Jan. 12.

Between 2000 and 2019, the Asian American population in the United States grew 81 percent, according to the Pew Research Center, making Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the country.

The Library of Congress’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month website has more information.