FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FEBRUARY 9, 2018
GOVERNOR BAKER SIGNS BILL DECLARING MAY “ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER MONTH”
BOSTON – House Bill 3360, An Act designating May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month, was signed into law by Governor Charles Baker last week, following its passage in the Massachusetts House and Senate earlier in February. The bill will allow for an annual proclamation from the governor, setting apart the month of May and recognizing the significant contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States.
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) as an Asian Caucus priority, with caucus members Representative Donald Wong (R-Saugus), Representative Paul Schmid, III (D-Westport), Representative Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville), and Representative Rady Mom (D-Lowell) also signed on.
“I am excited to see Massachusetts recognize the significance of the month of May to the Asian American Pacific Islander community, particularly here in the Commonwealth” said Rep. Tackey Chan. “AAPI community members are often overlooked when looking at the broader discourse of immigrant contributions in the U.S, but have dedicated much time, labor, and energy to our nation and Commonwealth’s development. This designation is an exciting step for us, and I look forward to celebrating Massachusetts’ diverse AAPI cultures and histories this coming May.”
“It’s great to see Massachusetts recognize May as Asian American Pacific Islander month,” said Rep. Donald Wong, Chair of the Asian Caucus. “It gives the people of the AAPI community a platform to showcase their many different cultures, the rich history of the people, and to share in recognizing their accomplishments in the Commonwealth.”
At a national scale, the month of May has been recognized as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month since the late 1970s, when resolutions were first introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7th, 1843 – a young fisherman named Manjiro who arrived to Fairhaven, Massachusetts – as well as the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, a project which relied heavily on Chinese laborers.