Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders
April 29, 2021
Reading recommendationsMay was permanently designated Asian/Pacific Heritage Month in 1992 and officially changed to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 2009. This all began with Jeanie Jew, a Chinese American former congressional staffer, who proposed the idea in the 1970s. May was chosen because of two historically significant events: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States, and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which is estimated to have employed over ten thousand Chinese Americans at one point. 

Historically, the representation of Asians has been primarily of East Asians. But Asia includes the Desi community and Southeast Asian communities as well. The largest Asian subgroups in the Sacramento area based on population are the Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, and Vietnamese communities. 

Pacific Islander is an umbrella term for the Indigenous peoples of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia and their descendants. This is a completely separate group from Asians. The largest Pacific Islander communities in the Sacramento area are: Chamorro, Fijian, Hawaiian, Marshallese, Palauan, Samoan, and Tongan. Some Pacific Islands are part of the USA, mainly as territories. 

It is important to note that for both Asians and Pacific Islanders, there are hundreds of different cultures, languages, and traditions encompassed by the broad term. Each group has had its own historical struggles that should be remembered and its own successes to be celebrated. Especially in light of recent events, the library would also like to reaffirm that #StopAAPIHate is of utmost importance.

* Please note that all groups, languages, and organizations on this page are listed in alphabetical order as to not imply any group being more important than the others. 

Community Languages Collection 

Sacramento Public Library collection includes books in Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Korean, Panjabi, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Learn more about our community languages collection.

#OwnVoice Reading Recommendations

Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with us by reading books by Asian and Pacific Islander authors. The following #OwnVoice book list was developed by the Sacramento Public Library’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team. #OwnVoices specifies authors from under-represented and marginalized groups, who write from their own perspective and experiences. Author Corinne Duyvis is credited for starting the #OwnVoice movement in 2015.


Local Asian and Pacific Islander organizations

​*Special thanks to these organizations that contributed and assisted with this project. We greatly appreciate their help.

Asian Resources, Inc

Asian Resources is a non-profit community-based organization established in 1980 dedicated to providing multiple social services needed in the community, empowering everyone they serve to become a vital part of our changing, diverse society.

Chinese American Council of Sacramento

The Chinese American Council of Sacramento continues to be the voice of the Chinese American Community; they also support other APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) groups who may be underserved and need support and representation.

Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce

The Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce, Inc. continues to set the standard of building business excellence and responsible business leadership for Filipino Americans. The Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce is a strong advocate of business ownership among Filipino-Americans and provides a well-established network of trade and commerce resources for its member chapters in the United States.

Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Sacramento

The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Sacramento promotes business ownership among Filipino-Americans and supports the community.

Hmong Organizing for Progress and Empowerment (HOPE) Center

The HOPE Center is a social benefit cultural center providing a creative platform for arts, culture, education programming and services.

Hui O Hawaii of Sacramento

The purpose of Hui O Hawaii is to preserve and promote a unique quality of life commonly referred to by the Hawaiian Community as the Aloha Spirit and Hawaiiana; which is to accept all individuals who embrace the Hawaiian culture regardless of their physical appearance, sexual preference, race or religion; to share their Aloha (love, affection, lineage, and traditional Hawaiian lifestyle) with them. The organization provides opportunities that will enhance the culture, history, folklore, art, music, dance and lifestyle of the Hawaiian people and those "Hawaiian at Heart", and to practice those ideals and principles by developing programs that are focused on improving the overall educational growth of their people and the community in which they live.

Indian Association of Sacramento

The Indian Association of Sacramento (IAS) is a non-profit organization that serves as the single platform to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India. IAS aims to share and showcase the cultural beauty with their fellow citizens in the greater Sacramento area and keep the culture alive for future generations.

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Sacramento Chapter

The Florin Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is one of the oldest and most active local community organizations involved in teaching cross-cultural understanding and promoting civil rights of all people. Established in 1935, the Florin JACL is run entirely by volunteers, and is sustained from community donations and membership dues.

My Sister’s House

My Sister’s House serves Asian and Pacific Islander and other underserved women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking by providing a culturally appropriate and responsive safe haven, job training, and community services.

NorCal Chamorro Club

The Northern California Chamorro Club was formed to create unity, and to offer social, and recreational activities for members of the Chamorro community. To provide comfort, and assistance to members of the Chamorro community in times of misfortune: foster, advance, and maintain a spirit of family, and comradeship among its members, and to generally encourage better citizenship, and finer living. To offer an avenue for children of the Chamorro community to learn, and retain the cultural elements, and customs of The Marianas Islands.

OCA Sacramento-Asian Pacific American Advocates

OCA represents Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Islander Americans in the United States.

Pacific Islander/Southeast-Asian American Resilience Integrity and Self-Determination through Education (PRISE) at American River College

PRISE is a Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian learning community that aims to create a home/family atmosphere for students on campus and is one of the core programs in APISC. PRISErs receive assistance in reaching their academic goals at ARC through dedicated courses, academic counseling, peer mentoring, cultural enrichment, and book assistance. 

Sacramento Valley Korean American Community

The Korean American Association of Sacramento, which started in 1962 and is now in its 26th generation, has a history of over 50 years.

To’utupu’o e ‘Otu Felenite Association (TOFA)*

The mission of TOFA is to preserve and enhance the overall Health and Wellness of the Pacific Islander community in the Greater Sacramento Area by providing resources that support and promote higher education, community leadership opportunities, civil rights awareness, and cultural arts.

United Territories Of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Sacramento*

UTOPIA Sacramento’s primary focus is to provide an advocacy platform for the City of and County of Sacramento’s LGBTQI Pacific Islander’s population as well as the greater Pacific Islander community. The COVID crisis has disproportionately impacted Pacific Islanders so their focus has pivoted entirely to responding to the pandemic. UTOPIA Sacramento’s current objective is to provide Pacific Islanders with education, support and access to information about Health and Human Services programs available to them for testing and vaccination.

Wonoti Program/Native American and Pacific Islander Resource Room/Native American and Pacific Islander Club* at Sierra College

The Wonoti Program at Sierra College is open to all students and is specifically designed to increase the retention and success rates of Native American and Pacific Islander/Polynesian students. Wonoti (a Southern Maidu word meaning “to cause to grow”) is a community dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences and opportunities of Native American and Pacific Islander/Polynesian students. The Wonoti Program is informed by an indigenous worldview that seeks to emphasize tribal/village values and ethics. Wonoti was designed to educate the students in the program holistically (mentally, physically, and spiritually) while also educating the campus community about the aboriginal peoples of this land.