BOSTON – Governor Charles D. Baker today signed House Bill 3360, An Act designating May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month, which was unanimously passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate earlier this year. 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 Commonwealth’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made significant contributions to Massachusetts, including growing our economy, enriching our arts and cultural institutions, and strengthening our education system,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to celebrating the unique contributions made to Massachusetts by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community each May going forward.”
The bill was filed 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.
“To have the Governor sign this bill and proclamation recognizing AAPI communities’ legacy here in the Commonwealth is a great way to start off this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Month,” said Rep. Tackey Chan. “AAPI community members should be part of the broader discourse of immigrant contributions in the U.S, having 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 throughout this month.”
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 New Bedford, Massachusetts – as well as the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, a project which relied heavily on Chinese laborers.