As we enter Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I think a lot about my extended community and what the celebration means for us.
Being an Asian American in 2021 means we have the opportunity to assert ourselves by blending the best of both worlds: our heritage and origins with the American culture. In light of the heightened violence against the Asian American community, one thing is clear to me—we are the strongest when we unite as one voice. Amplification is key. I am proud of the Asian American community for their governance and coming together to inspire change by leveraging their own platforms. It has a ripple effect, and I have been seeing immense outreach and socialization across the industries in entertainment, tech, nonprofit, and more. Mostly, I am elated to see allies standing up to show their support. We are all in this together.
One of the ways I continue to support my community is in my role as president of the Asians@Amazon Seattle chapter. Asians@ comprises a multitude of cultures. We showcase our programming and always find innovative ways to highlight them our varied experiences. I often get questions such as, "I am not Asian, can I still join?" I commonly reply: "Absolutely, yes!" Our affinity group welcomes those who are interested in the Asian culture and want to participate in building a sense of community and belonging. We create the opportunity and bring people together—for those looking to explore new ideas, make connections, and learn from one another. I joined for this reason and chose to take an active leadership role to be a change maker in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.
Meet some of the leaders within Asians@Amazon:
Here are some of the ways you can celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with Amazon:
- Amazon is proud to sign on to the AAPI Giving Challenge and join leaders in business as a corporate partner for the launch of The Asian American Foundation, a new nonprofit organization founded to serve the AAPI community in the pursuit of belonging and prosperity, free from discrimination, slander, and violence.
- To celebrate and raise visibility for the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) creative community, Amazon Music, IMDbPro, and IMDb are coming together with AEG, Gold House, Pacific Bridge Arts Foundation (PBA), and Transparent Arts to present the 2021 installment of Identity 2021. Streaming live on Saturday, May 15, at 5 p.m. PST on Amazon Music’s Twitch Channel, this year’s event will feature live performances, PSAs, panels, and more from some of the most groundbreaking members of the APIcommunity, including Mike Shinoda, James Reid, Guapdad 4000, ATEEZ, Kalani Peʻa, Taylor Rapp, Steve Aoki, and more. Co-hosted by rapper-actor Dumbfoundead, and Sherry Cola, the event will raise money for the PBA’s scholarship programs and the AAPI Community Fund.
- Amazon Music is also releasing a weekly series of Amazon Originals for Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), celebrating some of the most exciting Asian and Pacific Islander artists across a wide swath of genres including hip-hop, K-Pop, R&B, and more. Debuting each Friday on Mixtape Asia—Amazon Music’s playlist of the best new music from API artists—the series will feature new tracks from rapper-actor Dumbfoundead, up-and-coming boy band ATEEZ, actor and musician James Reid, TikTok power couple AJ Rafael and Alyssa Navarro, and singer, songwriter, and actress Jules Aurora. Amazon Music will also launch a new collection of playlists for APAHM, including "Made in Hawaii," which spotlights the works of Hawaiian musicians. Debuting this Friday, the playlist is curated by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and producer Kalani Peʻa, and honors both Hawaii’s music legends and the young Hawaiian musicians breaking new ground. Amazon Music will also debut a new short film and Twitch series celebrating lane-switching API women creatives like Deb Never, Joyce Wrice, Mallibu Miitch, and Audrey Nuna.
- For all of May, ask Alexa "who inspires you" to hear about important figures in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
- Starting May 1, Prime Video will feature a dedicated landing page with a curated selection of titles to honor the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The collection will feature AAPI actors, producers, writers, and filmmakers, and will include Amazon Originals such as Jimmy O Yang: Good Deal and the Oscar-winning movie Sound of Metal, licensed content such as The Farewell , and titles like The Grandmaster from IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.
- Read Amazon Book Review throughout the month of May to discover new and beloved books.
- Amazon Handmade is celebrating with a curated storefront featuring handcrafted items by Asian and Pacific American-owned businesses. From jewelry and home goods to wooden sculpture planters and skin care, the selection highlights beautiful and thoughtful gifts. The dedicated Handmade storefront highlights four Asian and Pacific American Makers and their unique stories: Marcia of Kahili Creations, Julie of Trail575, Jasmine of Essance Skincare, and Krit of Soothi Containers of Creativity. Celebrate Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month by supporting and empowering small businesses. To discover the entire collection, visit amazon.com/HandmadeAPAHM.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week was first recognized in 1978, following a joint congressional resolution. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month-long celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.